Christine Burriel, 72, peacefully passed away July 14, 2021, in her home in Roseville, California, surrounded by her family.
Christine was born Feb. 11, 1949, in the small farming community of Fairfield, Iowa. She started grade school in the little town of Farmington, Iowa, which marked the beginning of a lifelong love of education. The family moved to California in 1964, largely due to the educational opportunities that existed in the state. Following in her father’s footsteps, Christine began a teaching career after graduating from Cal Poly in 1972. Years later, she also achieved a masters degree in counseling.
Her teaching career spanned four decades, beginning with her first job in Visalia, California, to her final position as a junior high counselor at Desert Hills Middle School in St. George Utah, retiring in 2013.
Her life was partly defined by her commitment to education, especially her kindness and commitment to the kids who needed her the most, the kids who came from difficult homes, and the kids who were underprivileged and struggled with school. She has said that her greatest accomplishment as a teacher was working in the Community Day School in Susanville, California, where she had an opportunity to work in a classroom composed of the kids who were underdogs in life. These kids loved her, because she loved them, and they grew to love education.
As she witnessed in her own family, education was a vehicle to level the playing field. She believed education could raise a person out of poverty or despair, giving a person a chance to be successful in life. And thousands of kids benefited from her time and educational philosophy, all to the end of making their lives better.
Learning of her illness, one of her past students, now an adult, inscribed in a book he sent to her, saying, “Thank you for imparting your love of reading to me. It was right when I needed it the most! I don’t know how many of hundreds of people consider you their most influential and favorite teacher, but you can count me as one of them.”
This is an almost unanimous sentiment among her former students.
Her life was also defined by her love and commitment to her family. As the second oldest, she was the mentor, the advisor, and the comforter to those she so loved. She was the happy preparer of meals, and delighted in nothing more than sharing a meal with her family. She was a marvelous cook — and her family delighted in nothing more than eating the food she prepared.
For every family member’s birthday, we looked forward to whatever delicious birthday cake she served.
Her husband, Dave, was also an educator, and they shared a passion for teaching. They were married for more than 40 years and enjoyed many summer travels, and for a time, an enjoyment of horses. She also loved traveling in her RV with Dave. Together, along with their dog Susie, they traveled through much of the country and Canada. She loved the beauty of the places they visited, and she kept an eye out for any historical sits of interest. She often took her mother, a niece or a nephew along for the trip — creating memories that Christine cherished.
It is said that “we all die, but too few of us live.” Christine lived. The many kids she touched, the pleasure she took in being with her family, enriched her life, and enriched others. Her life was meaningful in the way she touched others, and that legacy will live on to countless others.
Christine is predeceased by her mother, Pauline Reeder; her father, Robert Gillaspie; and her little dog Susie.
She is survived by her loving husband, David Burriel; and her five siblings (Bob, Bill, Craig, Charleen, and Mike). She is also survived by nieces, nephews, and grand nieces and nephews, all of whom loved her dearly.
In lieu of flowers, please provide a donation to the Christine Burriel Memorial Scholarship that has been created in her memory. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/f/Christine-Burriel-Memorial-Scholarship. The funds will be used annually to help a selected student who needs the money for college, and who wants to be a teacher.
A celebration of her life will be held in Roseville on between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, July 24, 2021. Call James at (707) 206-8945 for more details.