Rae Burgess, 96

April 29, 1920 - Dec. 26, 2016
Rae Burgess, April 29, 1920 - Dec. 26, 2016

For several decades there was barely a day when Rae Burgess could not be seen taking a brisk walk along the highway in Montauk, “waving to all,” her daughter Ginger Spinelli wrote. “Weather never stopped her and she pushed on to the next sunny day,” continuing her walks well into her 80s.

Mrs. Burgess, who was 96, died on Monday at Southampton Hospital. Visiting hours were yesterday at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton. She was to be buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Montauk.

She was born in New York on April 29, 1920, to Louis Hazen and the former Flora Abravaya. Her father was born in Istanbul and her mother was from Madrid. She grew up in New York, speaking only Spanish until she entered school, and was married in November 1939 to Joseph Burgess. 

The couple raised two daughters, Ginger and Florence (Lori), in Glen Rock, N.J., and after retirement split their time between Montauk and St. Croix before settling full time on Ditch Plain Road in Montauk. When Lori Louis was killed in a car accident, Mr. and Mrs. Burgess took in their granddaughter, Rachel, and raised her in Montauk.

Mrs. Burgess worked at White’s Pharmacy in Montauk and also at Claudia’s Carriage House and Scentsations in that hamlet. She was a member of the Montauk Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary for many years.

She was a generous host and an excellent cook, and her meals were renowned among her granddaughter’s friends. “Rae was loved by so many, and a friend to all,” Ms. Spinelli wrote.

Her husband died in 2003. In addition to her daughter, Ms. Spinelli, who lives in West Milford, N.J., she is survived by three grandchildren, two great-granddaughters, and two brothers, Jack and Albert Hazen. A third brother died before her.

A memorial is being planned for the spring.

Her family has suggested contributions to the Montauk Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, 12 Flamingo Avenue, Montauk 11954.