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Wendy Duguid Burns

wendy burns

May 29, 1945 ~ May 11, 2019

Wendy Duguid Burns was born in Montclair, NJ on May 29, 1945, to Jeannette Weightman Duguid and Raymond Brighton Duguid.  She was the third daughter, and youngest sister of Eleanor and Carol.

Wendy is survived by Bill, her husband of fifty-four years, their three children, twins Eric and Laura (born in Boston, 1971), and Greg (born in Washington, DC, 1977), and six grandchildren:  Wyatt (15), Penelope (12), Bailey (12), Kirsten (11), Finian (9), and Lindsey (8).

Wendy’s family moved to Turner Avenue in Drexel Hill, PA when she was two, and after a brief move to Ohio, the family moved to Derwyn Road, five blocks from her future husband at age ten.  Shortly after the move, in January 1956, Wendy’s mother Jeannette died of colon cancer.  Her mother’s passing was devastating.  Wendy’s father remarried when she was fifteen, bringing step-siblings into the home.  In 1963, Wendy graduated from Upper Darby High School, where she played field hockey, swam on the swim team, and led the tennis team as captain and MVP.

Wendy attended Penn State for two years, dating her future husband Bill during that time.  Following their wedding in August 1965, the couple moved to Cambridge, MA with Wendy transferring to Boston University and Bill working toward a PhD at Harvard University.  Wendy earned a B.S. in 1967 and an M.S. in Speech Pathology in 1969 from Boston University. She worked as a Speech Therapist in the Dedham, MA school until the birth of Eric and Laura in 1971.

In late 1971, Bill & Wendy moved to Springfield, VA, as Bill accepted a position at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC.  Shortly after, in 1972, they purchased a home in Waynewood, south of Old Town Alexandria, where they lived for 47 years.  Wendy stayed home with the twins for two years before joining the Arlington School District as a tutor for hearing impaired high school students at Yorktown High.

Wendy returned to work full time as a Speech and Language Pathologist in the Fairfax County School system where she worked for 33 years (and volunteered on the PTA Board for 17 years).  Initially she specialized in treating students with cleft palates.  She helped design some of the first computer-aided language boards for use by individuals with cerebral palsy.  The last twenty-plus years of her career were focused on helping students overcome stuttering difficulties. Speech therapy gave her the opportunity to work individually with students, which she greatly valued.  Wendy knew that resolving stuttering helped students in a much broader way, as it helped mitigate the impact that stuttering can have on academic, emotional, and social development.  As a result, she had a profound impact on many students over her career.  In retirement, her private practice continued to focus on helping students eliminate stuttering.

Wendy and Bill built a life together both in Alexandria, VA and on Orr’s Island, Maine, and were active in both communities.  Bill had visited Orr’s Island since his childhood, and the couple purchased a summer home on the island in 1985.  They enjoyed sailing the Dutchess II (a Flying Scott) as well as canoeing and kayaking with friends and family.  In later years, Wendy and Bill spent more time on Orr’s, actively participating in the activities of the Orr’s Bailey Yacht Club.  Both greatly enjoyed the weekly bingo games, cookouts, and sailboat races in the Harpswell Sound.

Since the mid-70’s, Wendy was an active member of the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church, otherwise known as “Our Holy Hill.”  She was Chair of the Board in 1990 and a member of the Board of Trustees for six years.  More recently she is known for her work on the MVUC property, including helping create the Memorial Walks (1992-1994), an area to memorialize those who have passed on, including Wendy’s father and Bill’s parents.  In 2000, Wendy chaired the committee to restore the Windmill, and in 2006 she worked to create a natural playground for the Ft. Hunt Cooperative Preschool.  She also was influential in starting the endowment fund with Rob Dickenson, helping raise over $2M for MVUC operating funds.  Finally, she was a monthly contributor to the MVUC newsletter, sharing tips to reduce our environmental impact through the Easy Green column.

While residing in Waynewood, Wendy participated in a bridge club for 40 years, a tennis team for 30 years (where she was captain for 12 years), a book club for 15 years, and a knitting club for 10 years.  She was an active member in Democratic politics and a vocal environmental activist.  Wendy is well known for her attempts to persuade friends and family to ditch plastic and embrace recycling and composting.

In early 2018, Wendy was diagnosed with Multiple System Atrophy, a degenerative neurological disorder. She greatly appreciated the love and support she received over the last year of her life from her many, many friends in the area. Wendy passed away at her home on Saturday, May 11th, 2019, surrounded by friends and family.

Wendy was a force of nature; passionate and outspoken, energetic and forceful.  She never met a cause she didn’t believe in, or a friend she didn’t support.  Wendy was the friend we didn’t need to summon in difficult times.  She just appeared, ready to roll up her sleeves, literally and physically, to tackle any problem.  She will be greatly missed.

Contributions in Wendy’s memory can be made to the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church Endowment Fund or the Sierra Club.


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Memories Timeline


  1. A Spring’s Bounty Basket was sent on May 24, 2019

    Wendy will be missed but not forgotten! Her bright spirit, sharp wit and delightful sense of humor gave us many joyful memories. I was blessed to have her as a friend. Wishing you comfort and peace,
    Love, Norma & Tom Roberts

  2. A huge loss to Waynewood and Orrs Island, as well as so many clubs and organizations. Wendy was one of my “oldest and bestest” friends and I was blessed to have her in my life.

  3. Wendy, our good friend, able tennis partner, and collective conscience, you will be sorely missed. Thanks for the fond and loving memories. The shared birthdays, the Waynewood Women’s Tennis Team matches, the fun and fellowship at the Book Club and Tennis Group, especially their annual Christmas parties, trips to the hairdresser, and all that just goes with being a steadfast and loyal friend.

  4. I got the pleasure of meeting Wendy and Bill on Baileys Island when we were fighting for Cedar Beach and held pancake breakfasts and she was the first to volunteer to do anything and was a joy to work with,, we had a great time and she kept us laughing and never a dull moment when she was there.. She will be sadly missed by the Island Community and all who new her.

  5. Wendy had such a full life.  She stepped forward to tackle any job with enthusiasm and with her delightful humor.  She was a joy to work with and a loving friend who always was thinking of what more she could do for others.  She left a legacy behind of how to care for the environment both by example and with the classes that she spearheaded at the Mount Vernon Church.  We will continue to  actively caring on this legacy in her name.  

  6. Rest in peace, Wendy.  We will do our best to be “green”.  Your spirit is here with us at Orr’s Island.  Teena Patton

  7. A Blooming Blues was sent on May 28, 2019

    Dear Duguid Burns Family,

    With blessings, love and prayers. My thoughts are with you all.


    Alex Wolfman

  8. I got to know Wendy at MVUC when she led the building of cob houses (mud structures) at the playground. Later we worked together on the kitchen renovation that was part of the chapel updating program. She was a motivating leader, a doer, and a great friend. I miss you, Wendy.

  9. Wendy, I never got the chance to meet you, however you gave me one of the dearest friends in my life, your daughter Laura. I will forever be grateful.
    Peaceful journey to you and go find some fun people to hang with. Elvis? Marilyn? Grace Kelly? XO

  10. Love all the times we had together Wendy in Maine and Alexandria.  You are so missed here on Orr’s Island.
    Our sympathy goes out to your whole family….So sorry we cannot make it to your service but our hearts and thoughts are with you.
    In Sympathy and Prayer,  Marnie and Malcolm McFarland


    Dear Laura, Wyatt, Bailey, and Bill,
    We are remembering wonderful summertime adventures with Wendy and all of you in Maine. Sending our love, Jack and Connie

  12. Wendybird- How I miss our Saturdays at the Farmers  Market eating popovers and buying  goat cheese and flowers. So many memories of laughing hysterically at ourselves until we cried , skipping leftover cheesburgers like flat rocks after Bingo and eating at Newberry’s counter many years ago. I will hold these memories close and I’ve kept my promise. Peace.

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