Ruth H. Burkins

Ruth H. Burkins

Friday, August 21st, 2020
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Ruth Heaps Burkins, Ph.D., age 90 years of Newark, DE died at her home on Friday evening, August 21, 2020. She was the wife of Charles A. Burkins who died on August 31, 1990.

Born in Pylesville, MD on September 8, 1929, she was the youngest of four children of the late Wilson A. and Maria Jane (Stokes) Heaps of Highland. Ruth attended school at Highland and following graduation began her undergraduate studies at Maryville College in Tennessee. In 1950, she earned her B.A. in Religious Studies with a minor in Secondary Education, returning home in May of that year and marrying shortly thereafter. She began her teaching career in the fall of 1950 at Bel Air High School, a position she maintained until a five-year hiatus to begin raising a family. Ruth returned to teaching in 1958 at North Harford High School and later returned to her studies at the University of Maryland from which she earned her M.Ed. in Secondary Education with a minor in Special Education in 1965. In 1966, with encouragement from a mentor, Annetta Wright she continued her career as a secondary supervisor at schools in Aberdeen, Edgewood and Havre de Grace and in 1978 earned her Ph.D. in Secondary Education from the University of Maryland. In 1983, while the supervisor at Bel Air Middle and High Schools, Dr. Burkins was appointed as the Supervisor of Special Education for the county. She then applied and received a three-year grant from the Maryland Department of Education to develop a curriculum for gifted students which included the general principles for differentiated learning. To that end, Dr. Burkins began recruiting teachers, many of whom would later serve as superintendents and principals.
After her husband suffered a heart attack in 1986, she retired from Harford County the following year after a 32 year career. Dr. Burkins then worked as a consultant for other school systems, the Maryland State Dept. of Education and Baltimore City Public Schools.
The Harford County Retired Personnel Association honored Dr. Burkins by placing her in the Harford County Hall of Fame and in 1995 she was chosen as a Distinguished Alumni Honoree from the University of Maryland College of Education. As a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, she served in a variety of positions among key women educators.
Dr. Burkins was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church and served as an elder at her home church, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newark, DE. She held leadership positions at the New Castle Presbytery and Synod of the Mid-Atlantic and was particularly active with the Presbyterian Women at both the local and Synod levels.
Dr. Burkins adored her granddaughters and great granddaughters and nothing pleased her more than being in the midst of family and friends.

She is survived by

One daughter:
Karen B. Salmon and her husband, John C. Salmon of MD

Janet L. Burkins

Aaron M. Wolf of VA

Four granddaughters:
Lynn Marie Kirby and her husband, Jason of VA
Bethanie Anne Jackson of VA
Lauren Elizabeth Salmon and her husband, David Touchette of VA
Rachael Mariah Salmon of MD

Three great granddaughters:
Caitlin Ruth Seifert
Amelia Grace Jackson
Olivia Grace Touchette

In addition to her husband and parents, she was preceded in death by her daughter:
Joan B. Wolf

And siblings:
Ethel Jane Crosley
Jeanne L. Jackson
Henry W. Heaps

No public services are scheduled.

Contributions in her memory may be made to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 200 Marrows Rd., Newark, DE 19713
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Service Details

  • Interment

    Emory Cemetery
    911 Cherry Hill Road
    STREET, MD 21154
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
No public services will be held. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, 200 Marrows Rd., Newark, DE 19713


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Private Condolence

Ed Burcham

Posted at 07:54am
I had Ms. Burkins, Mrs. Burkins back then, for 7th grade. She helped my transition to high school and was a mentor to me throughout my years. She was a very accomplished woman and loved her students. Of course, I later knew her as Ruth when I joined the family a few years later. I always enjoyed talking with her about our lives during the Heaps reunions. She was always quick to recount the accomplishments of her kids and grandkids. I have missed her the last few years at the reunions. She was a great teacher and helped many students through difficult times. I am so sorry for your loss and I look forward to chatting with her in the future.

Ed Burcham, married to Susan Heaps

Susan Harrell Whaley

Posted at 02:00pm
Karen, John and Family,
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your precious Mother. What a wonderful woman she was and so way ahead of her time, was such a pioneer and trailblazer in Education for all women who came after her. Keeping you all in my prayers during this difficult time. God Bless you all.
Susan Harrell Whaley, CHS Class of 1971
Sebastian, Florida

Cindy Campagna

Posted at 12:13pm
I have always admired Ruth’s caring and selfless nature. Her big heart and personality were contagious. I will always remember Ruth’s kindness to my mother and Mrs. Rogers. What a good neighbor. My mother and I wIsh you strength and peace. You are in our thoughts and prayers,
Cindy and Pauline Campagna


Posted at 10:43am
“Hey there, girl”! I will miss hearing your greeting every time you saw me! Farewell my friend; Rest In Peace RUTH! I will miss “chatting “ with you!
My deepest condolences to the family, , “a feather, a robin & a butterfly 🦋 are signs that she’s standing near you!”

Maria Garbayo
Arbour Park

Andi Moses

Posted at 09:16am
So many memories from my childhood in Arbour Park with Karen and Joan. Mrs. Burkins was always a towering, impressive presence. I'm so sorry for the family's loss.

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