Professor Burton Fletcher, J.D.
A Man Ahead, Taking One for the Team
Professor Rufus Burton Fletcher, Jr., J.D. (Ret.) was what we all aspire in life to be. Successful, awarded, a pillar of his community, and a man who lived his personal and professional life to its fullest capacity. But in addition to all of that – someone who never let said success get to his head, corrupt his heart, or distract him from his morals. As the son of two blue-collar agriculturists from McAlpin, Suwannee County, Florida, Burton Fletcher had character that could never be purged out of him by cheap rhetoric, nor dirtied by the excesses that come along with earned achievement and opportunity. He was first and foremost a Christian, and such a doctrine seemed to play into every aspect of how the man conducted his life.
As a decorated professor at El Camino College in the City of Torrance, Los Angeles County, California, he challenged his students to their fullest potential – stern at times, but never vindictive, larger-than-life, but never inaccessible. As a celebrated Los Angeles attorney, along with his practice Fletcher & Associates, he judiciously assisted thousands of Los Angeles clientele with various cases, specializing in litigation. As a member of the community in the city of Torrance, he served on the boards of reputable institutions such as Pop Warner Football of Torrance, the Center for Prevention of Child Abuse, the South Bay Children’s Health Center, the West Los Angeles College Paralegal Advisory Board, and the Los Angeles Southwest College Paralegal Advisory Board.
However, it was serving in the Marine Corps, specifically during the Vietnam years, that Fletcher unequivocally stated was one of his highest honors. From 1970 to 1973 he epitomized the Marine Corps values of honor, courage, and commitment. Because of this, Fletcher achieved the sanctified rank of Corporal during his years of military service. While such lofty achievements are worthy of the salutation and paraphrasing ‘iron man,’ Professor Fletcher was anything but. He was a dedicated and loving supporter of animal adoption and animal foster care, Fletcher found great joy from his canine friends, and during his lifetime took in or adopted numerous special companions. He was christened a ‘foster failure’ due to the fact he grew profound attachments with all of the creatures he took in, thus the only critique there making the term ‘foster’ start to seem more like ‘zoophilist’. But I digress!
For it was because of this great love Professor Fletcher’s estate subsequently created the Burton Fletcher Foundation for Animals, Inc., providing grants to various animal welfare organizations and charitable endeavors of the like. It’s this multi-coloring of the man’s character that not only made him stand out because of his humanity, but also because of his chameleonic traits always subject to fascination. Professor Fletcher was the definition of a life less ordinary, yet in many ways concurrently symbolic to the values of the American Dream. A working-class kid, with provincial values, making his way up the social ladder to achieve great things. He will be remembered as a worldly educator, attorney, activist, and best of all beloved member of the City of Torrance, and Los Angeles County, California.
In a time like this one, it’s nice to know that people like Professor Rufus Burton Fletcher, Jr., J.D. exist. Their presence adds a light that will forever threaten the potential for an overwhelming darkness.