Lillian Marshall Burris, dedicated to community

April 9, 2014
Lillian Marshall Burris

Lillian Marshall Burris, 94,  passed away Tuesday, April 8, 2014, in her home surrounded by family.

Lillian was born in Lewes in 1919 to Joseph L. and Sue Watts Marshall. She graduated from Lewes High School in 1937 and the University of Delaware in 1941. She taught at Caesar Rodney School for one year until the outbreak of World War II, when she married John E. (Jack) Burris. After the war, the couple settled in Milford.

Lillian was a stay at home mother who dedicated herself to raising her four children and participating in numerous community activities. She served on the Delmarva Boy Scouts Advisory Board and the Girl Scouts Advisory Boards, and as a member of the Parent-Teachers Association. She served as chairperson of the Delaware Federation of Women's Clubs Field Service Project and as the education chairperson for the Milford New Century Club where she administered the club's Hirsch Fund for disadvantaged people for 20 years.

She was a member of the Board of Kent-Sussex County's Mancus Foundation for Handicapped Persons and a charter member of the Milford Housing Corporation. She was a trustee of Wesley College and a member of the University of Delaware Alumni Board. Lillian was also a member of the Milford Memorial Hospital Auxiliary and a booth chairperson with her husband Jack, where her family and employees of Burris Foods cooked chicken barbecue dinners at the annual Milford Hospital Fair for over 30 years. Lillian was also a trustee of Children's Beach House board for 50 years.

Lillian and her husband were chosen as "Citizen of the Year" twice by the Milford Chamber of Commerce, and both also received the United Way's Alexis de Tocqueville Society Award. She received the distinguished honor of Delaware's Mother of the Year in 1992, and received the Outstanding Alumnae of the Year award from the University of Delaware in 1997.

Most people know Lillian as an active member of Avenue United Methodist Church in Milford for many years. She taught Sunday school for 18 years. She has served as a member of the administrative board, president of the United Methodist Women's Society, Parsonage Committee co-chair, Council of Ministries Counselor with Youth Fellowship, and was active in the United Methodist Women's Circle.

Lillian enjoyed sandbars on Lewes Beach in the summer, football games at the University of Delaware in the fall, and the extremely cold and windy days of winter in Delaware. Lillian was a fabulous cook who enjoyed making food for the masses and bundt cakes for every occasion. Most people will remember Lillian as an outstanding volunteer, community leader, philanthropist, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. But by far, she will always be remembered for being the faithful and devoted wife of Jack Burris. In fact, it is hard to think of Lillian as just Lillian; it was always Jack and Lill. As a couple, they were admired, respected and loved by all.

In addition to her parents, Lillian was preceded in death by her husband, John E. "Jack" Burris; a son, Robert D. Burris; and a sister, Sue Preston Dean.

She is survived by her daughter, Lilla Hoopman and husband Bob; a daughter-in-law, Susan Burris; son John Burris and wife Cathy; son Howard Burris and wife Debbie; a brother T. Rowland Marshall and wife Marian; a sister Mother Virginia Marshall; 15 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at noon, Monday, April 14, at Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church St, Milford, where friends may call after 10 a.m. Following the service, friends are welcome to a reception in the Fellowship Hall. Burial will be held privately.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in honor of Lillian Marshall Burris can be made to Avenue United Methodist Church, 20 N. Church St, Milford, DE 19963, or Children's Beach House, 1800 Bay Ave., Lewes, DE 19958.

Arrangements handled by Rogers Funeral Home, Milford.

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