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George and Georgianna McBurney

George 1996

Georgianna 1928 – June 11, 2013

Georgianna “Georgie” Edwards McBurney, a key leader in Malibu’s efforts for cityhood, “worked hard to make Malibu its own special enclave, by helping to gain cityhood in 1991, serving as a telecommunications commissioner, working to make the dream of Legacy Park a reality and doing whatever she could to protect and enhance the community,” her family wrote.


Georgianna is my sister in the New Women’s Forum and the North Shore Cadre. I hold her in my heart. She would love to hear all of the stories and tributes to her…and who knows? Maybe she is getting them all in ways we don’t understand.

It occurs to me this morning that she would also love the fact that many of us are praying for her and Nelson Mandela in almost the same breath. She is already putting together the 4X4X4 for when she meets all of departed colleagues to share this remarkable story. Love and peace flow into your heart, dear Georgianna.


She is survived by her three children, Holly, Jana and John, son-in-law, Hui Hui, daughter-in-law, Elisabeth, four grandchildren, Shan, Jim, T. George and Tianna, and her cat Angel.

          ~~  Priscilla H Wilson


How can I not join the singing?  …. Georgianna you have inspired me and so many of us over the years …

  • Thanks for your passion for participation.

  • Thanks for your role in pushing the rise of the feminine as you embodied the revolution of new female leadership (in a very male-istic Order)

  • Thanks for your fun, your levity, your bawdy humor and your captivating smile

  • Thanks for conversations at the bar after great facilitated events

  • Thanks for many jobs well-done and

  • Thanks for a life of service so wonderfully lived.

We have you placed in our meditative councils for the next 100 years … I insist on your inner peace to carry you onward on a journey without end!  “I don’t know why we love you like we do…we just do.” Blessing now and on the road ahead, we are standing on your strong shoulders… In great appreciation and with much love,

          ~~  Sherwood and Eunice Shankland


I was in the North Shore Religious House when Georgianna and George were guardians. We met in their house many times. I learned from the Guardians what being a lawyer meant and that became my career.

          ~~. Herman Greene


I, too have been mentored and befriended by this amazing lady.  I especially remember her when she came to Amarillo, Texas to do the Town Meeting – can you imagine in Amarillo in the mid 70’s?  In community,

~~  Nancy Lanphear



Georgianna’s work with Kitty Cole on the “Standing Tall in the 80s” program influenced me personally.  In 2012 I was working with ICA Chicago to decide what our next work would be.  Sustainability was on our radar. I reminded our staff about the work Georgianna and Kitty did in ALL 77 communities by themselves – setting up more than 50 forums of every type. We were inspired by that comprehensive approach – that impossible challenge of two women covering all that geography together.  So we took up the challenge in a program we called Accelerate77 – visiting all 77 communities to identify more than 900 sustainability projects in 2012 – when few people thought anyone was doing anything about the climate challenge. The Georgianna and Kitty 50 forums as well as Accelerate77 inspires me to this day.

Three years ago a university volunteer wrote up the “Standing Tall” story on the ICA archives website:  As I review the writeup I want to add information at the beginning about who Georgianna and Kitty were doing this amazing work with almost 2000 lives directly impacted. A re-remembering.

          ~~  Karen Snyder




Thoughts on Georgianna McBurney by Kitty Cole at her memorial service

June 15, 2013 Malibu CA City Hall


I am privileged to have some wonderful women friends, and Georgianna leads the pack. She is my best friend. I met her on the west side of Chicago in the late sixties at a seminar for women.  We helped form the New Women’s Forum that forged new methods that allowed decision making from the bottom up.

Georgianna grew up in the World War II generation.  She was fierce about her country, fierce about women’s equality and fierce about civil rights.  She sometimes remarked that she walked with one foot in the establishment and one foot in the disestablishment, which, actually made her strangely effective.

Georgianna was very smart – loved and valued learning.  She was one of the funniest people I knew and saw the mundanity of life in rye humorous ways.  She had a great marriage to a man who was equally smart and funny. They were a great pair that adored each other.

Georgianna was a big picture woman.  She saw things from a global perspective.  She loved that fact that I was in Japan and even let Jana take her sophomore year of high school with us in Kobe.

She was a leader within the institute of Cultural Affairs.  In 1976, the bicentennial of our country, Georgianna played an important leadership role in a campaign that did a town meeting in every county of America. She saw it as true democracy.  In 1980, she and I celebrated the election of Harold Washington as Mayor of Chicago, by offering town meetings in every neighborhood of Chicago.  She often quoted Daniel Burnham “make no little plans”. Georgianna did not want to do anything unless it was cutting edge.  So anything she did was put into a global context. It was great fun working with her.

Most of all Georgianna was a great friend.  She would laugh at pretentiousness and brought things into perspective. She had a great capacity to love. I will miss Georgianna McBurney and wish her god’s speed on whatever journey she is on now.

Imagining World – By Brian Andreas

In my dream,

the angel shrugged

and said, if we

fail this time, it

will be a failure of


& then she placed the world

gently in the palm of my hand.


Georgianna, I remember when you were putting your heart and soul into the Town Meeting Campaign. I walked by your table (desk, cubicle, or whatever) when you were knee deep in reports that had come back from Town Meetings, and your were trying to figure out how to file these so that the wisdom could be made available later. You were working on archives before most of us knew what the word meant. That determination has served you and the rest of us well.

          ~~  Doris and Charles Hahn


I remember so well being invited out to the Mc Burney household, and experiencing such bonhomie and fun and laughter there! One time George invited Jim and me into his downtown office, and very proudly showed us a new form of communication –  the Fax- he was so proud that a Facsimile he was sending to New York took seven minutes to arrive there!  Those were the days! In peace,

          ~~  Isobel Bishop


Georgiana has been one of my “guiding” women over the years. I first met her at an early Guardian’s Meeting. She along with other women in the group at that time gave me a way to see how it might be possible to be a part of this crazy group. I worked with her in the Town Meeting Post at Operations Centrum and as a part of the LENS crew. In addition to getting our “job” done keeping on track with TM work, we had plenty of time for coffee and conversation. I remember her telling of being on the El, at a late stage of pregnancy, during a crash and how she made it through in good shape. And Georgiana and George! What a pair. I laugh to myself remembering their high sprits.

          ~~  Beret Griffith


Justin and I really love Georgianna, and on the few occasions we went to California to see our daughter, we always made sure we stopped in to see her – always the gracious lady, and we worried whenever we heard of fires in the Malibu area – more than she did, herself.  May her journey “home” be peaceful and easy.

          ~~  Del Hunter Morrill


Linda and I spent last Friday night at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, reading to Georgianna all the emails that were pouring in, playing some Enya songs, and singing softly “Those Who Wait on the Lord” suggested by some of our colleagues.  Georgianna was in a coma, but they say the last thing to go is the hearing.  Daughters Jana and Holly arrived Saturday morning.  During the night Georgianna’s breathing went from rasping to a more calm rhythm. The Hospice nurse arrived around Noon and all arrangements were made for taking Georgianna home.  Linda and I went ahead to open the house in Malibu and move some furniture to make room for the delivery of a bed and medical supplies  and wait for the ambulance to arrive with Georgianna and Jana.  Georgianna has been surrounded by three nurses around the clock for some months now.  We call them St. Theresa, St. Maria, and St. Rosa, from El Salvador and Mexico.  Her first home hospice nurse is from Ethiopa.  This is fitting for Georgianna is truly a “global citizen.”  Georgianna arrived home about 5:30 on Saturday, transported by two caring paramedics who along with Jana and Holly, lifted their Mom onto a stretcher for the trip up the stairs to the living room.  Georgianna made the trip just fine and has been at rest at home since.  Son John arrived from Denmark Sunday night.  Jana told us that she gave her Mom a bath and did her nails.


Linda and I have been privileged to be “adopted” as though part of the family and considered by Georgianna so as she told us many times.  But then we believe that she told many of you the same through the years.  She was with us through the entire 13 years of the FOOD FOR ALL project, which still continues in one form or another, just as many of the ICA projects she worked on have continued in one form or another.


Georgianna for her latest project was very active in Malibu politics and supporting good people in City elections.  We celebrate a wondrous woman who enriched our lives and the lives of countless others through a life of dedicated, compassionate service.  Fierce defender of family, friends, and the future of the human enterprise on the planet.  It has been a privilege to walk part of the way with her.

          ~~  Milan and Linda Hamilton


Jim and I share in the sorrow of Georgianna’s  death. We loved her frankness and openness and perhaps above all, her deep humour and  sincerity. Georgianna was an icon of what it means to be part of the sisterhood. In peace and love,
~~  Isobel Bishop


Georgiana, who simply lived life LARGE – such gusto  – carried many of us as we would flag near the end of a long and incomplete assignment.

          ~~  Sunny Walker