Estelle T. Burnham


Estelle T. Burnham of Edgartown died on Wednesday, May 16, at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She was 71.

Estelle was born on February 14, 1941, in New York City, the daughter of Arthur Honig Sr. and Lena Feil. She was graduated from Cathedral High School in New York City and later worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. She then met and married an Island native, Marvin Burnham, and he brought her to the Vineyard.

She came to have a love of animals and she had a farm with all kinds of animals, except for cows. A special interest arose with a love of horses and under Judge Joe Arigo she became an American Horse Show Steward, one who handles the rulings and laws of shows to which she traveled. Her own horses won ribbons locally.

Estelle also volunteered at the MSPCA in rescuing unwanted dogs and cat. They knew her well there and kept her number on their wall.

She became a Certified Nurse’s Assistant and an Edgartown EMT. She was also employed by the Edgartown Police Department as a secretary and rape investigator and also under Joe Solitto at the Edgartown Superior Court. During this time she was working for Colonial Nursing Association and Vineyard Nursing Association and through the years she eventually went into private duty nursing until breast cancer struck in 1997 and she had to retire.

The cancer caused her body to break down, and the chemo therapy was hard and difficult, and she needed a wheelchair for the past ten years. At this time she was given her beloved registered service dog, Braun. They put a lot of miles on that wheelchair.

Estelle had volunteered under the guidance of JoAnne Murphy at the Veterans Administration Services in sending cards, letters, and packages to our military personnel overseas. She only wished she could do more for them as they sacrifice so much for us with their dedication, their service, and the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. She had the privilege and honor of meeting so many and they were so appreciative. Please keep them in your prayers.

She is survived by her brother, Arthur Honig of Edgartown; and three nieces and nephews, William A. Honig of Hubbardston, Deirdre-Ann Clegg of N. Carolina and Christine Phillips of South Carolina; and a great-niece, Meg.

She had a good life with beloved family and friends and wonderful employments. If you are willing to keep her in your thoughts and memories — remember the good times, face life straight on, keep close to your family and friends and love a lot. Memorial donations may be made to NEADS – Dogs for deaf and disabled Americans at PO Box 213, West Boylston, MA 01583; Tel. 978-422-9064.

Estelle’s funeral will be private. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit for online guest book and information.

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