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Horace F. Burgee Jr., 78, Hampden funeral director


Horace F. Burgee Jr., a popular and highly respected Hampden funeral director who served on the board of United Cerebral Palsy of Central Maryland for 40 years, died yesterday of pneumonia at University of Maryland Medical Center. He was 78.

Mr. Burgee, known as Buzz, was born and raised above the two-story Burgee-Henss Funeral Home that was founded by his grandfather in a brick home at Falls Road and 36th Street in Hampden in 1899.

The Towson resident continued working in the business until last year, and at the time of his death was chairman of the board of the funeral home.

"He was a fixture in the community and a classic example of a local funeral director," said John "Jack" O. Mitchell IV, vice president of Mitchell-Wiedefeld Home in Rodgers Forge. "He was a man that everyone knew."

"I think he was the last of his generation of what I call the 'Old Guard,' " said John O. Mitchell, president of Mitchell-Wiedefeld Home, yesterday.

"I always looked at him as a quiet and easy-going person -- a real gentleman," he said.

He ascribed Mr. Burgee's success to a genuine willingness to help people.

"He was able to relate and share a person's grief during a very difficult time. He always provided personal, one-on-one, caring service. Horace was just that kind of person," Mr. Mitchell said.

Mr. Burgee also donated funeral services to those who couldn't afford them. "He felt everyone was entitled to a decent funeral service, and he made sure that they got the proper treatment," said a daughter, Lynn B. Henss, who with her husband operates the funeral home today.

Mr. Burgee was just as fervent about his work with United Cerebral Palsy of Central Maryland, of which he was a founder in 1958.

He served on the organization's board for more than 40 years, and while serving as first chairman of the Delrey Center Committee in Catonsville in 1964, helped establish the first year-round services to children provided by UCP.

In 1992, in recognition of his philanthropic and humanitarian contributions to UCP of Central Maryland, the Frederick Center in Frederick was named after him. The Horace F. Burgee Jr. Endowment Fund was founded last year.

"No one in his family had cerebral palsy. He was here because he thought he could have a role in helping children with disabilities," said Pat Sandusky, president of UCP of Central Maryland.

Mr. Burgee was a 1937 graduate of the McDonogh School and earned his bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1941.

His professional memberships included the Maryland State Funeral Directors Association, of which he was president from 1961 to 1962. He also was a past district governor of the National Funeral Directors Association.

His marriage to the former Margaret Carroll ended in divorce.

Services for will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Burgee-Henss Funeral Home, 3631 Falls Road.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 26 years, the former Mary C. "Jinx" Chairs; another daughter, Diane B. Packer of Barnwell, S.C.; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 12/09/98

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