Lillian J. Buirkle, 82, passed away on December 29, 2018, at her home in Lavallette, New Jersey. She was the daughter of Gus and Ann Buirkle. As owner of one of the first auto dealerships Park Ridge, NJ, Gus helped found, and assisted, the first ambulance squad in her home town, with generations going back from Jersey City to the Virginia colony of 1610. Lillian continued her father’s civic responsibility by volunteering as an EMT at Lavallette Volunteer First Aid Squad. During her decade plus time of service, she became a life member in the community that she and generations of family members have spent in this small community on the bay.
After Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA., Lillian became a scientific pioneer as a senior scientist who helped develop major breakthroughs for a large pharmaceutical corporation over a career begun in the ‘60s.While having a large family and successful career that spanned decades, she also found time to be editor of the Michigan State Button Society bulletin from 1997 to 2002. She competed in local, state and national button societies covering much of the eastern U.S. “Every button that is new to me is exciting,” she said. “My favorite buttons are those from the 18th-century and earlier, especially those made of fabric, since they are so fragile.”
She wrote about fabric buttons and presented a program on them for NJSBS. Among her other publications are, with Marjorie Fraser, a booklet on the Marie Snouffer China buttons, now in its second edition. For the National Button Society bulletin, she authored several articles on political buttons, including those on Presidents William Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt.
In New Jersey, we remember that – with dignity, helpfulness, and efficiency, she was past president of the New Jersey State Button Society, and she was also editor of the NJSBS bulletin and webmaster. As president she recruited NJSBS members to help the Cranbury Historical and Preservation Society evaluate its button collection. In 2017, even when she was very ill, she pitched in to help produce and edit the fall NJSBS bulletin. She was a loyal member of Jersey Shore and Central Jersey Buttoniers.
She is survived by her husband and lifelong partner of over 37 years, Joseph Palinsky; her three children; Erik K. Dhuy, Christine A. Greenough and Ronald J. Dhuy Jr., she also leaves 8 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren with two more on the way. The family requested donations in her name to the Lavallette Volunteer First Aid Squad. Several button competitions are name in her honor.