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Rotary Members Hail 'Vibrant' Marguerite Burbank's 'Zest for Life'

Club's weekly meeting is dedicated to the memory of 61-year-old Mill Valley resident who died in a car crash near Petaluma last Friday.

It was shorts weather when the Mill Valley Rotary club gathered Tuesday afternoon. But it wouldn't have mattered if it wasn't.

Dozens of Rotary members gathered in the Mill Valley Golf Club House in memory of fellow Rotarian Marguerite Burbank, who afternoon. In honor of Burbank's tradition of donating $5 to the Rotary's endowment for each male Rotary member who wore shorts to the meeting, more than a dozen members wore shorts Tuesday, drawing a series of subsequent donations.

The club dedicated the meeting to Burbank's memory and left the chair she usually occupied empty. Members went around the room sharing their thoughts on Burbank, a longtime Rotarian, real estate agent and horse enthusiast.

Many spoke of her contributions to the Rotary's ongoing grants for college students, its projects in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and the 2006 creation of Sycamore Park. Most focused on Burbank's vibrant personality, sense of humor and zest for life.

Patrick Callahan kicked it off with a quote from Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.”

Here's a selection of some of the reflections on Burbank's life:

  • "She was always glad to see you with a warm welcome and something funny to say. She always made her presence known, that's for sure." - Rotary President Jim Simkalo
  • "It's a reminder that we need to cherish each day and remember her as the wise-cracking, friendly person she was." - Robert Brownstein
  • "She was going to teach me me how to ride horses this summer. I loved her. She was honest - often painfully honest - down to earth and very, very funny. She had incredible energy. I'm just going to miss that lady so much." - Susan Royce
  • "She was a straight talker. This ain't no dress rehearsal. That's the reminder in losing someone so vital and so young. Do what the hell you want to do while you're here." - Donna D'Acuti
  • "She had a real zest for life and I admired her and miss her and I think we all do." - Bob Canepa
  • "She had a dingy, wacky personality that you learned to love. She had that honesty that stopped you in your tracks ... She was definitely a special person." - Kim Jessup
  • "She had such a vibrant presence about her."  - Elizabeth Suzuki, who recounted a tale of Burbank's often hilarious attempts to set up their respective children on a date.
  • "She sat right next to me here just last week. I was just devastated to hear that this hapened. She was just so full of life." - Ed Marshall, who said that Burbank's childhood nickname was the apt "Buzzy."

Burbank is survived by her husband Russ, her 25-year-old daughter Katie and brother Allen Haynes. A private memorial is set for this weekend in Mill Valley. The family is asking that donations in her memory be sent to the Mill Valley Rotary Service Fund.

If you have your own reflections and memories of Burbank, post them in the Comments below.

Connee Young May 24, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Dear friends and family of Marguerite, I am so sorry for your loss. I did not know Marguerite well, but she was our West Blithedale canyon neighbor when we lived in Mill Valley from 1989 until 2003, when we moved to Petaluma. We would see her on walks in the canyon, and we would chat about dogs, Mill Valley and whatever. Unlike many people, she actually liked our dog, Molly, a blue heeler who is now gone. For this reason alone, I liked Marguerite very much. With fond regards, Connee and Jamie Young
Joanie Flynn May 24, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Mill Valley has lost a wonderful representative of your way of life. I grew up in Marin and my family became intertwined with Marguerite's family initially via real estate transactions, but soon they adopted us and we them. She indeed had a vibrancy, friendliness and ability to perceive things keenly. Her honesty, wild sense of humor, loyalty and protection of people and the place, Mill Valley, that she loved were palpable. We were all lucky to have been touched by this tremendous life force. I love the Dr. Seuss quote -- that says it all! Joanie Flynn
Ruth Ellen Schmutz March 22, 2013 at 03:54 PM
I knew Marguerite in high school. As I read the various comments, they recall the wild, wonderful young girl who was my friend. I am glad she leaves a legacy of joy.

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