Jay and Dorothy Burger were native Californians and long-time residents of the San Jose area. Dorothy was born on a farm on Moorpark Avenue. The Burgers were donors to the American Red Cross Santa Clara Valley Chapter since 1986, but the Chapter only learned of their intention to donate a part of their estate to the American Red Cross upon Dorothy's death in February, 2007. Jay had predeceased Dorothy in 2000.
Jay and Dorothy Burger were both educators. They met in Salinas, while Dorothy was teaching at Salinas High School and Jay was teaching at Hartnell Community College. They married September 3, 1939, the day that Hitler invaded Poland. Jay was fond of saying "that was the day TWO great wars were started." But relatives and friends tell us they were a devoted couple, never having children of their own, but always welcoming nieces, nephews and extended family.
Dorothy's father was one of the first football players at what is now San Jose State University. Jay became a Business Law professor at SJSU and Dorothy was a counselor and teacher at Lincoln High School. She primarily taught German and Social Studies.
They indulged their love of travel by taking road trips every summer, frequently to visit family on the East Coast. They used Dorothy's German and other language skills in Europe and brought back numerous interesting mementos of their trips.
Their nephew, Dr. William Southam, of San Jose, speaks fondly of the Thanksgiving and other holiday celebrations at the Burger's home in Saratoga. The entire family, except the East Coast relatives, would gather and Dr. Southam describes it as a "fun-filled, loving gathering." The accompanying photo of Dorothy Burger hints at her good humor and her nephew says she was always smiling, with a kind word.
When asked if the Burgers had any special connection to Red Cross, Dr. Southam was not certain, but believed it may have dated back to Jay's father who was an Army band director at Fort Funston in San Francisco.
The Chapter is so grateful for the gift of Jay and Dorothy Burger. Their generosity will continue to make a difference in the lives of the community served here by Red Cross for many, many years. If you would like information on how to include American Red Cross in your estate plan, please contact our Gift Planning Manager, Kathleen Wright, at 888.868.1992 or Kathleen.Wright@redcross.org.