Chapter Eternal: Waldo Howard Burnside ’49

Source Courtesy of Dignity Memorial

Waldo Howard Burnside, husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully on November 5, 2023, his 95th birthday, while his family surrounded him with love. Throughout his long life, he was a beacon of light for his kindness, generosity of spirit, and humble service to his family and communities.

In a life marked by business leadership and civic engagement, Waldo’s major interest was his family. He met Jean Culbert, his wife-to-be, in high school. They went to the University of Maryland at the same time and after they graduated, were married on June 24th, 1950. As of this year they were married for 73 years. They were blessed along the way with four children, eleven grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren.

Waldo was born in Washington, DC and raised in Hyattsville Maryland where he attended Hyattsville Elementary School and Hyattsville High School. He then enrolled in the Business College of the University of Maryland in 1945 and graduated in 1949. He joined the Gamma Chi Chapter of Sigma Chi Fraternity. After graduation he became a member of their alumni chapter and was the recipient of the Significant Sig Award. He was also a member of the Phi Kappa Honor Society,

After college he entered the business community when he joined Woodward & Lothrop, a department store in the retail industry in Washington DC. There he worked in various capacities including Trainee, Buyer, EVP of Merchandising and Sales Promotion as well as Chief Operating Officer and President.

In 1980 he left Woodies to join Carter, Hawley, Hale as Vice-Chairman and Chief Operating Officer, and he and Jean moved to Los Angeles. He retired in 1991 as President. They continued to live in Los Angeles until 2018 when, after 38 event-filled years, he and Jean moved back to Maryland.

Over the years, though the children migrated to various parts of the country, Waldo and Jean cherished bringing the whole family together at Christmas and, for decades, in summer to gathering at their beach house in Fenwick Island, DE, building bonds of affection, making memories, and giving generous and gentle guidance to the younger generations on everything from education to golf.

Following his graduation from the University of Maryland, his Alumni activities included serving as a Board Member and President of the Terrapin Club, Member of the Business School Hall of Fame, Trustee of the Board of Visitors and Trustee of the Maryland C.P. Foundation. His community activities on civic and corporate boards included the Suburban Trust Company Bank, the Better Business Bureau, and Blue Shield. While he was still in California he continued to work with the University of Maryland to set up Alumni Groups in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. In 2013 he and Jean received the Spirit of Maryland Award from the Alumni Association.

In California, Waldo’s community activities included serving on the Board of Directors of Security Pacific Bank, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, the Los Angeles Sports Council, the Southern California Automobile Club Association as well as the national board of the AAA.

His interest in healthcare led to a volunteer effort with Saint John’s Healthcare Foundation as a Trustee as well as the Hospital Board in Santa Monica for a number of years. In 2009 he and his wife Jean received the Spirit of Saint John’s Award.

Waldo was an avid sports fan and followed his beloved Terps to any number of football games (including Bowl Games) and basketball games (including ACC tournaments). Clearly his major preference in sports was golf which he enjoyed playing at Columbia Country Club in Maryland, Los Angeles Country Club (President) and Pine Valley Golf Club (NJ), as well as trips to Scotland and Ireland. He also managed to attend the Olympic Games in Montreal, Los Angeles, Barcelona, and Atlanta.

Mr. Burnside was predeceased by his mother, Eleanor Tavenner, his father Waldo Burnside, and a sister Virginia Burnside Cox. He is survived by his wife Jean and his four children – Diane, Leslie (Joe), Arlene (Greg), and Bill, his eleven grandchildren – Gretchen, Drew, George, Lauren, Jaime, Katie, Tony, Michael, Brian, Phil, Rachel, and his ten great grandchildren. His presence and mentorship will be sorely missed by all.

Friends may visit with the family on Friday November 17th from 4 to 7 p.m. at Gawler’s Funeral Home in Washington, DC. A memorial service will be held on November 18th at 10 a.m. at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac, Maryland. Interment at Rock Creek Cemetery will be limited to family. Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Maryland C. P. Foundation ( or Saint John’s Health Center Foundation (