Joel Burlingham

Obituary of Joel Burlingham

Joel R. Burlingham, 65, died Friday, August 31, 2012. Born in Syracuse, NY, he resided in the Princeton area for the last 24 years. Son of the late Russell and Clara (Westbrook) Burlingham, he is survived by his wife of 17 years, Colleen M. Burlingham; son Jay, of Madison, WI; son Jon and his girlfriend Trini Carrasquel, of Portland, OR; son Samuel and his longtime partner Julia Timphony, of Eugene, OR; and daughter Bonnie, her husband Ryan Eastman, and their newborn daughter, Charlotte June, all of Seattle, WA. He is also survived by his brother Mark Burlingham and sister-in-law Jane (Caldwell) Burlingham, of Eads, TN; his niece Amy (Burlingham) Wages, of Collierville, TN; his nephew Brian Burlingham, of Cordova, TN; and his first wife Linda (Nelson) Burlingham, of Lawrenceville, NJ, the mother of his children. Joel had the instincts of a bold explorer, and he lived his life in consonance with his own unconventional spirit. A charismatic orator, as a youth minister in his early adulthood he could move a room of hundreds. But he truly felt the presence of God in the wilderness, where he experienced a deep spiritual connection through nature and the land. Joel graduated from Evangel High School in Huntsville, AL, in 1965, and from Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham, AL, in 1969. He received his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1993. For eight summers in the 1970s, he led bicycle tours of teenagers around the country with his buddy David Weathers. He was the owner and proprietor of numerous small businesses, including a woodworking business, a produce stand, and a video arcade in Idaho, and a tree service business in Montana and New Jersey. In recent years, he worked at Princeton University Library and enjoyed spending time on a property in NY State that he shared with Colleen. He was honored to perform the eulogy for his great friend and coffee buddy Rod Rhodes in 2010. A devoted and loving husband to Colleen, Joel was dedicated to the life they built together. A tender and generous father, he loved his children unconditionally and was thrilled by their presence and proud of their endeavors. Quick with a warm smile, he put everyone at ease. His goofy sense of humor provoked untold guffaws and uproarious laughter, in himself and in others. Always brimming with ideas for the future, it seems unbelievable that his life force has moved on. Loved by so many, his influence will continue to be felt in the lives of those he touched while here on Earth. A private graveside service will be held. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to a charity of your choice in Joel's name.
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