Barbara (Burch) Burkhardt, age 82, of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, formerly of Wilmington, Delaware and Hyattsville, Maryland went home to her lord and her husband George on May 30th, 2022. Barbara was a resident of the Ruston Residence at Jenner’s Pond in West Grove, PA. She passed away peacefully holding the hands of her son (Dan Burkhardt – wife Tracey- Cherry Hill, NJ) and daughter (Darlene Sullivan- husband Robert – Cochranville, PA).
Barb (known as Birdie to her school friends) graduated from Northwestern High School in Hyattsville, MD in 1957. Barbara graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Elementary Education and taught the 2nd grade for several years until her daughter was born. Barbara and George were high school sweethearts and had a marriage that was envied by many and lasted 50 years until George’s passing in 2011. In the early years, Barbara and George moved around with the Air Force and with George’s job at Hercules, Inc. They lived in South Carolina, Pittsburgh, PA, and Hattiesburg, Mississippi prior to moving to Wilmington, DE and then eventually to Chadds Ford, PA in 1978 where they lived for over 35 years.
Barbara was the manager and buyer for the exclusive women’s clothing store Finkel’s in Greenville, Delaware once her children were grown. She loved the clients and the women she worked with and found joy in helping others to find outfits that made them feel happy and successful.
Barbara was a member of her college sorority Alpha Chi Omega and both the Covenant Presbyterian Church and later the Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church where she served on Session and enjoyed serving on the Pastoral Care and other committees. At Lower Brandywine she also enjoyed singing in the choir, hosting the after service coffees, and serving as the church representative at weddings.
Family and friends were most important to Barbara. She fully supported both of her children in all of their childhood activities – horses, 4-H, Little League, triathlons and more! She LOVED being a grandmother to Tyler Burkhardt, a software engineer (wife Molly) of Seattle WA, Erik Sullivan, a pilot (wife Caitlin Case) of Elizabethtown, PA, and Allison Strausser, an attorney (husband Justin) of Maple Shade, NJ and took her role of primary “spoiler” very seriously. She lived to enjoy the weddings of all three grandchildren.
Family extended far beyond her husband and two children. Barbara was known as “mom” to all of her children’s friends, to those she took under her roof for a night/weekend/or year, to friends, and even to the inmates where she and Darlene worked in the prisons to have those inmates train puppies to become service dogs.
Barbara’s hobbies included activities and meals with family and friends, church, reading, flower arranging, baking/cooking, and collecting figurines of mice (quite an impressive collection). She was known for her amazing hospitality and loved nothing more than to cook meals, host parties/dinners, and entertain friends and family. The holidays were especially festive!
A woman of amazing strength, faith, and resiliency Barbara spent her last several years battling an atypical form of Parkinson’s and despite that she always had a smile on her face and a laugh for anyone she spent time with. Her caregivers loved her, her therapy team loved her, and her family found comfort from those smiles and laughs.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in her honor to Cure PSP, 1216 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10001 (PSP.org) or to Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church, 101 Old Kennett Rd., Wilmington, DE 19807 (Lowerbrandywine.org)