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Lillian Gardiner Burt
May 30, 1925 - February 14, 2018
Lillian Gardiner Burt, 92, a resident of the San Diego neighborhood of Valencia Park since 1959 died at her home on February 14, 2018, surrounded by her family.
She had thoroughly enjoyed Christmas with family doing two of her favorite things: her annual holiday outing for tea at the Grand Del Mar and Christmas dinner at the Marine Room. On the day after Christmas she had a stroke and after being hospitalized her condition worsened and it was decided that she would come home under hospice care to be with her family.
Lillian was the only child of James Albert Gardiner and Lillian Florence Anderson Gardiner. She shared her home with her cousin Patricia (Patsy) Anderson for most of her childhood. She considered her a sister. After graduating from Howard High School in Wilmington Delaware in 1942 she attended Fisk University where in 1946 she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. While a student at Fisk she met her husband Harold E. Burt, a medical student at Meharry Medical College. They married December 27, 1945. The couple along with their three children relocated to San Diego when Harold opened up his medical practice. During her 64 years here in San Diego Lillian was a stay at home mom, an educator and an active community volunteer.
In 1969 she earned a teaching credential and joined the teaching staff in the San Diego Unified school district. She enjoyed teaching and as a world traveler and avid reader of multiple newspapers a week, she used these resources to build upon her students’ curiosity and based her social studies (her favorite subject) lessons on current events and things she learned from her travels.
Lillian was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and a charter member of the San Diego Links, Inc. where she spent countless hours
on projects to support the Chapter’s commitment to educational, cultural and civic activities.
Friendships and family were the essence of life to Lillian. She had wonderful memories of having dinner every Sunday at the home of her grandparents along with her many cousins. She spent all of her childhood summers at her grandparents’ summer home in Cape May, New Jersey. A lover of the beach, she would often take her children to the Silver Strand beach in Coronado multiple times a week. Devoted to her family and intensely proud of her children she labored to pull off elaborate family holiday meals with delicious food and table settings that were “magazine photo shoot ready”. She had life-long friendships. Many were established when she was a young child on the east coast and she nourished them over the years by writing to her friends, sending photographs and visiting on a regular basis.
Later in life it was normal for her to catch a red-eye flight on Friday nights to the east coast, visit with her girlfriends and family and be back on Monday and at work in San Diego by 6:30 A.M. She attended all of her high school class reunions and proudly gave the welcoming address at the 45th one in 1987. She could never be caught without a camera in her purse for whatever event she was attending. Preserving time spent with friends and family was important to her. This played well into her hobby of scrapbooking with her main goal of preserving the memories.
Lillian was a gracious and eloquent woman with an upbeat personality. She had boundless energy and started each day beautifully dressed and made-up, usually with plans to go out to lunch, to a jazz concert, to the theatre or simply to sit in her living room and read. She was a lover of and advocate for cats and took special care of those that became a part of her family.
As a member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral Lillian received the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick before passing.
She will be remembered with love by her sons Harold E. (Gina) Burt Jr., Keith G. (Brenda) Burt and Rodney J. (Cynthia) Burt, her granddaughter, Bianca (Erika) Burt and many more family members and friends.
he Lillian Gardiner Burt Memorial Scholarship Fund has been established. Contributions payable to San Diego Links, Inc. may be mailed to: Ms. Cigi Oakley, 7767 Calle Andar, Carlsbad, CA 92009. Please note on the check “In memory of Lillian G. Burt” and include your address as well so that the San Diego Links Inc. can alert the family as to where to send an acknowledgement.
It is with sincere appreciation and heartfelt gratitude that the family expresses our thanks for acts and expressions of kindness that warmed our hearts.
Special thanks to the staff at Scripps Mercy Hospital, staff at Arroyo Vista Health Center, staff at Kindred Hospice, staff at St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, Home Caregiver Elvira Valencia, and Anderson-Ragsdale Mortuary.
About the Achiever Program
Each year the San Diego Chapter of the Links identifies African American male high school seniors that have distinguished themselves in academics, sports, the arts and/or community to participate in The Achiever Program. Those selected for this program are exposed to workshops and seminars geared toward college preparedness.
(Obituary will be posted soon)