Jean Powell Burker
January 15, 1925 - January 6, 2024

Jean P. Burker, 98, died Jan. 6, 2024 at Cape Fear LifeCare (Hospice), Wilmington, N.C., just nine days short of her 99th birthday.

She was born Jean Powell on Jan. 15, 1925, in Orange, N.J., the daughter of Alvin M. Powell Sr. and the former Alice Fellows. Jean grew up in Glen Ridge with older siblings, Alvin Jr., and Dorothy.

She married William G. Burker, her sweetheart from Glen Ridge High School, at the end of WWII, when he returned from serving in the Navy. While Bill joined the Navy, Jean did not sit around and wait for his return. Alvin Sr. owned an automobile dealership, and Jean would drive military brass around the metropolitan area. She was also a frequent visitor to the USO, where she danced with on-leave servicemen.

Bill and Jean resided in Bloomfield and then Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and had three children: Mary Alice (also known as Mimi), Kathleen Jean, and William (also known as Kenny).

Upon retirement, the couple built a new home in Brittany Lakes in Wilmington, North Carolina, where they made many wonderful memories with their neighbors. The pair also traveled often, including regularly to Bermuda and Aruba. Bill and Jean moved into the Brightmore, an independent living community in Wilmington, before his passing in 2016. Jean moved to Davis Community in 2021, where she received wonderful care and made many friends.

Dancing was Jean’s lifelong passion. She accepted that she was too short to dance with the Rockettes, but celebrated each grand or great-grandchild who passed her stature. Jean expressed love for dancing through teaching, which she did for more  than 85 years, and through her North Carolina license plate, DANCEJEAN. In August 2019, WECT-TV profiled Jean, then 94, as she taught classes at the New Hanover Senior Resource Center.

Jean is survived by her children and their spouses: Mimi, Hollywood, Calif.; Kathy and Bill Kwasniewski, Foresport, N.Y.; and Bill, Livemore, Calif. She will be missed by her grandchildren and their spouses: Spirit and Teagan Gebbia, Pensacola, Fla.; Woods and Jennifer Gebbia, Indian Trail, N.C.; and Fran and Jude Seymour, Watertown, N.Y. and their children.

Jean is also survived by Lois Showell, her sister-in-law (Glen Ridge, NJ.), countless nephews, nieces, loving friends and dance students. Besides her husband and her siblings, her son Bill’s (Kenny) wife, Charloa, also preceded Jean in death.

Jean and Bill’s ashes will be interred together in the Memorial Garden at the Glen Ridge Congregational Church, Glen Ridge, New Jersey at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial donation to Davis Community or
Lower Cape Fear Hospice (LifeCare).
Check payable to “Lower Cape Fear LifeCare”
Lower Cape Fear LifeCare
1414 Physicians Drive
Wilmington, N.C. 28401

Check payable to “The Davis Community” with “Legacy Fund for Jean Burker” in
the memo line.
The Davis Community
c/o Julie Lewis
1011 Porters Neck Road
Wilmington, NC 28411.

Coastal Cremations 6 Jacksonville St., Wilmington NC 28403


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