Charlene Burger
Charlene Burger

Obituary of Charlene Burger

Charlene Burger of Port Charlotte, Florida, formerly of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, died on February 16, 2024, after a courageous fight against acute myeloid leukemia. Her family was gathered at her bedside praying with her hospice chaplain when she passed into the presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Charlene, along with the caring staff at Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, battled AML for fifteen months. When Charlene understood that further treatments would only slow the disease, she decided to do things on her terms. She politely informed her doctors that she would not undergo further treatments. Charlene explained to them that, “I just want to go home to be in my own bed, I’m ready to see Jesus”. Charlene was born July 23rd to Buvil and Lena Mae Smith in Webster, Kentucky. She graduated from Irvington High School, Irvington, Kentucky in 1965. Charlene then attended and graduated from the University of Kentucky, with a BA in Education in 1969.

During the Summer of 1969, Charlene started a summer job with the US Forest Service in Winchester, Kentucky. It was there that she met Robert Burger, a recent Landscape Architecture graduate of West Virginia University, who was beginning his first assignment on the Daniel Boone National Forest. They married in August 1970, and moved to Washington DC, where Robert was serving in the US Army.

Upon completion of Robert’s military service in 1972, Charlene and Robert moved to Lexington, Kentucky. Charlene continued her education at the University of Kentucky, while Robert continued his assignment on the Daniel Boone National Forest. Charlene obtained her master’s degree in 1973 with an emphasis in reading education.

Moves with the USDA Forest Service took them to Hot Springs, Arkansas; Jackson, Mississippi; Logan, Utah; and Atlanta, Georgia. Their family was completed with the births of Joe in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and Ben in Snellville, Georgia.

Charlene taught at various elementary and junior high schools as they moved around the country. Once they settled in Georgia, Charlene began teaching at Dresden Elementary as a reading specialist. During her years with the DeKalb County School System, Charlene served as Assistant Principal at Vanderlyn Elementary, then as Principal at Vanderlyn. Prior to serving as Vanderlyn’s Principal, she obtained her Leadership Degree from the University of Georgia. She completed her education career serving as the Principal of Oak Grove Elementary School, retiring in 2010.

Charlene most loved seeing her young students succeed in their studies. She always commented on the caring and supportive teachers, assistant principals, support staff, and parents with whom she was privileged to work. The efforts of all these educators and parents, resulted in the schools being continually recognized as outstanding schools, both at the state and national level.

In 2016, Charlene and Robert moved to Port Charlotte, Florida, near their son Joe’s family. Charlene loved being a part of her children’s and grandchildren’s lives. She enjoyed traveling to Philadelphia to visit her son Ben and his family 3-4 times a year. She also loved family reunions, and trips to Disney World, as well as, visiting Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia.

Charlene was a strong Christian woman and had a great faith. She was active in her church wherever she lived and worked with the Good News Clubs in Georgia and Florida. She never missed a chance to teach Vacation Bible School. Since residing in Florida, Charlene worshipped at Fellowship Church in Englewood, Florida.

Charlene is survived by her husband, Robert, two sons: Joseph (Jennifer), Port Charlotte Florida, and Benjamin (Jaclyn), Oreland, Pennsylvania, and four grandchildren, Jackson, Alyssa, Bryce, and Jorja. She is also survived by a sister, Phyllis Baker, and a brother, JK Smith (Beverly), two brothers in law; Thomas Burger (Bettijane) and David Burger (Nancy), as well as many nieces and nephews, who she always enjoyed being around, especially during family reunions.

Charlene was preceded in death by both her parents, as well as both Robert’s parents.

A memorial service is planned for June 21, 2024, 11Am, at Peachtree Corners Baptist Church, Peachtree Corners, Georgia.

Memorial donations may be directed to Moffit Cancer Center Foundation, MBC-FPU, 12902 Magnolia Drive, Tampa, Florida 33612, or to Child Evangelism Fellowship of Florida, Southwest Chapter, 25166 Marion Avenue Unit 155, Punta Gorda, Florida, 33950.

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