Laura Jean Burgess 1933 - 2022

Laura Jean Burgess passed from this world into the loving arms of Jesus just a few days after her 89th birthday, following a brief illness. She lived her life well, following her husband of 68 years, Willis, her high school sweetheart. She is survived by a brother, Tom Burns of Nice, California; two children, Marlee Gillihan of Vacaville, California, and Jeff Burgess of McMinnville, Oregon; a daughter-in-law, Tiffany (Anderson) Burgess; and five grandchildren, Michael Gillihan, Kevin Gillihan (and his fiancée, Jennifer Weston), Jordan Burgess (and her fiancé Jakob Landes), Ella Burgess and Soren Burgess. She was preceded in death by her parents, Elmer and Lillie Burns; sisters, Clara, Cleo and Mary Belle; and brothers, Bob and George. 

She was born in Hereford, Texas; following the Dust Bowl, her family moved to California, and settled in Lake County. She was the first of her family to go to college, earning her bachelor’s degree to become an elementary school teacher in Newman, and then in Ripon, California. In retirement, they lived in Grants Pass, Oregon, and enjoyed camping and traveling throughout the United States and internationally. In 2018, they moved to McMinnville, Oregon. She was an avid cook, artist and seamstress, and found no greater joy in life than doting on those she loved.

Laura Burgess was a good woman with an abiding faith, and a devoted wife, mother and grandmother.  She gave much to her community and her church.  She was loved; she will be sorely missed and long remembered. A celebration of her amazing life will be held in December, and she will be laid to rest next to her beloved husband at Evergreen Memorial Park Cemetery in McMinnville.  To leave online condolences, please visit


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