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302-478-7100 Wilmington & Hockessin, DE

Cynthia Henderson Kuespert

Cynthia Henderson Kuespert passed away at the age of 88 on March 13, 2023. Born in Lincoln Nebraska, daughter of Clyde P. and Winifred Henderson, Cynthia was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Nebraska in 1956, majoring in journalism and English.  Nearly 30 years later she earned a Master’s degree in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware.  Ever the student, she enjoyed classes at the Academy of Lifelong Learning and wrote a novel, “Isaac’s Call,” tracking relationships among an interracial family on the Maryland Eastern Shore across generations.

Cynthia’s marriage in 1956 to Warren B. Burt drew her to the East Coast, first to the University of Virginia where she worked in the University Personnel office, and transcribed lectures of guest writer, William Faulkner.  After moving to Delaware and the birth of her sons David and John, she became immersed in community activities.  She served as President of the Junior League of Wilmington in 1973, the Children’s Bureau of Delaware, and the Delaware Association of Kappa Kappa Gamma. The first major grant she obtained supported founding a home for delinquency-prone teenagers in cooperation with the Division of Juvenile Corrections. She has also served on the councils of the Delaware State Arts Council and the Delaware Humanities Forum.

Returning to full time employment in 1976, Cynthia was hired by the Delaware Arts Council to organize a clearinghouse calendar for the arts.  Shortly thereafter she became Coordinator of the Arts and Bicentennial Coordinator for the City of Wilmington, both programs of the mayor’s office.  In those capacities she founded the Wilmington Arts Commission and started the first Fourth of July celebration sponsored by the City of Wilmington.  During this era of high unemployment in the city, Cynthia ran special projects using federal funds for the City’s Division of Manpower Development, managed the City Sights-City Sounds programs that employed many artists, and produced the book “Wilmington Awake”, a photo essay of Wilmington during the Bicentennial year.  She also was responsible for an employment program that placed many women in higher paying non-traditional positions.

In 1979, Cynthia became Executive Director of Christina Cultural Arts Center, the only non-African American to hold that position.  In 1981 she was recruited by Wilmington Friends School where she was Director of Development and Alumni Activities until 1994.  During this time, she earned her CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) from the National Society of Fundraising Executives (now AFP), became one of the founders of the Brandywine Chapter of NSFRE, was elected vice-president for External Affairs of the national professional organization of NSFRE, and one year was named Outstanding Fundraiser of the Year by the local chapter.  She engaged in national lobbying efforts to encourage increased tax advantages for contributions to non-profit organizations.

In 1983, Cynthia married Don R. Kuespert and became stepmother to Jonathan and Jeanne Kuespert.  In 1994, she followed her heart to become director of the capital campaign to raise $5 million for the renovation of Westminster Presbyterian Church, retiring from her beloved Wilmington Friends School. She continued to be deeply involved in her church, serving as a Deacon, Elder, and in many other capacities.

At the close of the Westminster campaign, she joined MacIntyre Associates, eventually becoming vice president. She assisted many non-profits in major fundraising, to include Grace Methodist Church, Gilpin Hall, West Side Health Center, the Elementary Workshop, Saints Andrew and Matthew Episcopal Church, Connections, Overbrook Presbyterian Church, Newark Presbyterian Church, Pencader Community Center, the Kent School, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Sojourner’s Place and others, finally retiring at the age of 71.

In 2003, Don and Cynthia moved to Coniston, a Kendal retirement community, near Kennett Square.  They relished many days at their cottage on the Elk River near Chesapeake City, Maryland, especially times of family sharing.

Our family’s hearts are warmed by the descriptions of Cynnie’s character that have flooded in: a light of beauty, grace and loving kindness; perceptive, kindly and humorous; someone who always made you feel like one of her closest, most interesting friends; and the best Nama a kid could ever hope to have. And above all, energetically devoted to leaving the world better for her being.

Cynthia was predeceased by her loving husband, Don. Surviving are her children David H. Burt (Audrey Whiteside), John W. Burt (Sheridan K. K. Lorentzen), Jonathan G. Kuespert (Paula Kurata), and Jeanne K. Roberts (James Durban Roberts); six grandchildren: Evan W. and Matthew H. Burt, Logan P. and Zachary G. Kuespert, and Erica G. and Alicia C. Roberts; devoted life partner of five years, Walter K. Stapleton; her Nebraska family, and many far-flung nieces and nephews.

Funeral Services

Please join us at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1502 W. 13th St., Wilmington, Delaware for a memorial service April 15, 2023 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Westminster Presbyterian Church, (; Wilmington Friends School (; or your favorite not-for-profit organization.  Fundraiser to the end, Cynthia would say “Give until it feels good!”


    Adele Henderson lit a candle and writes,
    What an amazing person Cinny was. She was interested in everything, everything mattered, everyone mattered, topped by a great sense of humor.
    03/17/2023 04:48 pm
    Richard MacIntyre lit a candle and writes,
    It was truly an honor and a real pleasure to have such a wonderful, capable, friendly and successful leader working with MacIntyre Associates. Not only was she competent and successful, being able to share time with her and Don in so many delightful connections was a wonderful and inspiring personal experience.
    03/17/2023 06:00 pm
    John and Jackie Kaiser lit a candle and writes,
    What a great life story and achievements! No wonder her kids turned out to be such great adults! RiP Mom!
    03/17/2023 06:13 pm
    Sally Bugbee Keidel writes,
    Cynthia was a dear friend of my parents. I am thinking about you all as you celebrate her life and mourn her death. Thank you for sharing about her wonderful, rich life.
    03/17/2023 07:18 pm
    NANCY Caskey lit a candle and writes,
    Cynnie, my father's youngest sister, was such an accomplished woman ... from her education, to her role as a wife , mother & community leader, and in her professional life. As my aunt, I remember her for her kindness, gentleness, and soft presence. She was a strong woman with a beautiful glow, sweet smile, twinkle in her eye, and a warm heart that radiated to yours when she spoke. I will always remember her amazing persona. Rest in Peace, Dear Cynnie. ❤️🙏❤️
    03/17/2023 09:25 pm
    Karen Somerville lit a candle and writes,
    I met CynK and Don in 1997. I instantly knew they were lovely people. She was gathering research for her book Isaac's Call and came to my one-room "Colored" Schoolhouse Museum. We had an appt for 1PM, nearly 3 hours later we were wondering where the time had gone, but savoring the wonderful lasting friendship we had been gifted in that short time. Its been my joy, honor, and a blessing to have your influence my life CynK. You were bold with kindness, genuine and humble, adventurous and inclusive. You are a gem of a friend. Always in my heart ... I'm grateful to have called you friend. Ks💜
    03/18/2023 11:03 am
    David McBride lit a candle and writes,
    A truly great lady in so
    03/18/2023 01:49 pm
    Ron LeBleu
    03/18/2023 06:14 pm
    Cam Yorkston writes,
    Cynthia and I had the privilege and honor of sharing many interests and community activities in common, most centered around Westminster Presbyterian Church and, as professional development consultants, to many community organizations. As a founding member of the board of the Brandywine Chapter of the NSFRE, now AFP, she worked tirelessly to advance the development profession, while always nurturing the organizations and volunteers she served and mentoring her colleagues who were blessed to share her vision and aspirations. Always kind, soft spoken and blessed with a welcoming smile!
    03/19/2023 11:36 am
    Connie Alegranti lit a candle and writes,
    Cynthia was a delight. I am honored to have known her and am thankful for her extensive work with the Delaware Association of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
    03/19/2023 03:13 pm

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