Texas A&M University-Commerce
10:38 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

A&M-Commerce Professor Drowns in Oklahoma River

McCURTAIN COUNTY, OK - Oklahoma authorities say 64-year-old Gary Burton drowned Thursday afternoon while kayaking on the Mountain Fork River in southern Oklahoma, about three miles east of Broken Bow.

According to the Oklahoma Lake Patrol, a witness reported seeing Burton’s kayak flip, then saw Burton swimming toward the kayak when he stopped swimming.

Investigators say the witness was able to pull Burton to shore but was unable to resuscitate him. Burton was wearing a life vest, the patrol reported. A state medical examiner will perform an autopsy on Burton to determine if a medical issue contributed to his death.

Burton, of Quinlan, was an associate professor and theatre director in the department of Mass Media, Communication and Theatre at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

According to the university President's Office, Burton was born in Clovis, New Mexico.  He joined A&M-Commerce in 1996 an ad interim assistant professor and guest artist in residence. He was promoted to his current position in 2002.