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Constance Marie (Hill) Burlingame
Constance Marie (Hill) Burlingame
Constance Marie (Hill) Burlingame

As a Christmas gift to their grandmother, our grandchildren had purchased a book entitled “What I Love About Grandma”. The book tasked the grandchildren to complete questions describing their grandmother. One of the questions had them puzzled, “describe your grandmother as a dance”. They came to grandpa, in search of an answer. Constance’s husband Keith said: “When they asked me what dance grandma was most like, I instantly knew the answer, a Viennese Waltz. Constance was beautiful, elegant and graceful. As the waltz developed from peasant dances and evolved into the epitome of refinement, so did my wife.”   

Constance’s life started on the open, flat prairies of Illinois.  She was the first daughter of a sharecropper. She loved growing up on a farm. There were acres to play on, animals to tend and a loving family. She never knew that financially they were poor. She assumed everybody made their own clothes and had farm chores to perform every day.

Constance attended high school in Waterman, Illinois with 31 other students, where she excelled in the classroom and at sports. She learned to play the guitar, clarinet and the piano and standing at six-foot-one inch she was a natural at basketball. In her rural community, she was not noticed for her athletic skills, however, her academic achievements allowed her to graduate from the University of Illinois, Bachelor of Science in Forestry, Highest Honors, Bronze Tablet.

In 1978, Constance’s senior year of college, she met Keith and they quickly fell in love right before she moved to Oregon to work for the US Forest Service. 

Keith remembers: “The pain of separation from her was more than I could bear. She always had a bright smile and to her every day was a blessing to hold and cherish. So just three months after meeting, I proposed. She accepted and moved back to Illinois and on Nov. 4, we were married. 

Constance and Keith first set up home in Wheaton, Ill., just a mile down the road from Wheaton College. Over the years they resided in Wheaton; Hudson, OH; and finally in Dawsonville.

After our first of three children was born, Constance decided to move her career into the home and raise our children with strong Christian values. She always had a passion for children and expressed this by visiting and supporting Christian orphanages in the Philippines, Romania and Cambodia. Constance was also a member of North Georgia Church in Dawsonville.

While Constance’s life may have been shortened by pancreatic cancer, she burned brightly while here. Her life achievements were; top of her class at the University of Illinois, traveling the world, successfully assisted in starting an international business and always living her life true to her faith. But if asked she would proudly proclaim that her greatest accomplishment was raising three beautiful children. 

Surviving are her husband, Keith; sons and daughter, Peter (Danica) of Dawsonville, Ellen (John) Turck of East Windsor, N.J., Joel (Aly) of Bonita Springs, Fla.; grandchildren, Joey, Madison, Will, Atticus, Cecilia and Henry.

A memorial service was held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 8, 2021, visitation at 10 a.m. and service at 11:30 a.m. At the North Georgia Church, 74 Dill Lane, Dawsonville, GA 30534.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made for a boy’s dormitory at the TransformAsia David Center Orphanage in Cambodia. To donate go to, top far right click on Donation, then click on Donate to a Project, then click on Click Here to Pay Now, then on the fifth line down Project Designation and in the drop-down box pick In Memory of Connie Burlingame. 

Condolences may be left online at

Bearden Funeral of Home is in charge of the arrangements.

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Dawson County News

May 12, 2021