Longtime Princeton resident and community volunteer Judith Burks dies at 88

Judith Burks

Judith Stanley Burks, devoted wife of Dr. William P. Burks, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend died peacefully at her home in Skillman on the morning of Nov. 29. A longtime resident of Princeton, she was 88.  

Judy was born on July 30, 1933 in Newark to the late Cyril S. and Harriet Murdock Stanley. She grew up in West Orange with her brother, James S. Stanley, who predeceased her. She attended Miss Beard’s School, where she was a standout athlete and student, and Smith College, from which she graduated with honors in 1955. 

That same year, Judy married Bill, the love of her life. Theirs was a love story that began in their final year of high school and lasted more than seventy years. As a young couple, when Bill was beginning his medical career, they lived in Fort Lee, Teaneck, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 1966, they settled in Princeton. 

Judy loved and gave generously to her community. She served two terms on the vestry of Trinity Church, where she was a member of the altar guild, a participant in the most recent rector search, and a volunteer for the rummage sale, motel meals, and the St. Nicholas Bazaar. Her spirit of service leadership extended to four decades on the executive board, auxiliary to the Isabella McCosh Infirmary at Princeton University, membership in the Smith College Club, and participation in the Princeton Medical Center’s “Doctors’  Wives,” a group that, among other activities, made strawberry shortcake at the annual Hospital Fete.  

Judy built community and made friends of all ages. A member of the Garden Club of Princeton, she delighted in sharing blooms from her garden at the local French Market to benefit outreach initiatives. As a devoted fan and sports enthusiast, she brought her savvy game sense and love of competition to sidelines and stadiums all over town. Tennis with friends was a passion, and into her 80s she was a regular in the front row of step-aerobics classes at the gym. Every June, decked in the signature plaid of Princeton’s Great Class of ’55, Judy cheered on the P-rade.  

At home, Judy fed birds and tended gardens. Her hospitality made guests feel like family with her famous brownies and hot fudge sauce, a cozy fire, and warm conversation. In the fall, she picked apples from her orchard and baked loaves of ‘Windrush’ apple bread that were delivered to friends for the holidays. 

Avidly curious about books and art and life—and, above all, people—she was always ready with a good question and a thoughtful reply.  

Beloved by her children and fourteen grandchildren, “Hoppy” maintained a  regular and important presence in their lives. She attended decades of games, recitals, and graduations, and hosted countless holiday gatherings and family celebrations.  

Judy is survived by her loving husband, Bill, as well as four children and their spouses: Katharine and William Hackett of Skillman, Elizabeth (Holly) and Paul Becker of Lawrenceville, Deborah and Michael Southwick of Old Greenwich, Conn., and William Jr. (Whip) and Katrina Burks of Duxbury, Vt., and their families.  

A service of remembrance will be held at Trinity Church, Princeton at 33  Mercer Street on Dec. 20 at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to the charity of your choice.