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Frida Burling dies; long-time D.C. volunteer was 100

Frida Burling, of Washington, D.C., is seen at

Frida Burling, of Washington, D.C., is seen at her home in Georgetown on Nov. 19, 2008. Credit: Washington Post/Getty Images / The Washington Post

Frida Burling, a Washington, D.C., volunteer for 80 years whose beneficiaries ranged from the Junior League and Planned Parenthood to a Georgetown market clerk who delivered her groceries for 50 years, died May 26 at her home in the District. She was 100.

The cause was cardiac arrest, said a son, Walter T. Winslow.

Burling raised money for the Bishop Walker School, a private, tuition-free school for boys in the Anacostia neighborhood; volunteered for the homeless under the auspices of the Georgetown Ministry Center; and worked with the Citizens Association of Georgetown to renovate Rose Park and rebuild parts of the Georgetown Library. She organized St. John’s Church’s annual Georgetown House Tour fundraiser. In her 90s, she was part of a group that arranged for a benefit rock concert for the D.C. public library system.

She began her volunteer career in the 1930s as a solicitor of contributions for a United Way predecessor agency. She also raised money as a “cigarette girl” at a Junior League-sponsored horse show.

At 99, she began volunteering at the weekly feeding of the homeless program at Mount Zion United Methodist Church, across the street from where she lived in the Georgetown neighborhood.

She organized a retirement party for Claude “Buster” Jackson, a grocery deliveryman for 50 years for Scheele’s Market, next door to Burling’s home. The Georgetowner community newspaper called it “the party of the year.”

Frida Frazer was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on Sept. 16, 1915. “Because her father drank and could not hold down jobs, the family moved 13 times in six years,” her family said in a draft obituary, quoting from a memoir she published in 2004.

They settled in Washington in 1928. In 1934 she graduated from the private Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland, which she attended on a scholarship. Her parents had divorced. She did not go to college. “Her stepfather - like many men at that time - saw no point in educating a girl,” Mrs. Burling’s family said.

In 1938 she married Walter Thacher Winslow, who had come to Washington to work in President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. This gave her more time for charity work because “married women seldom worked in those days,” her family quoted her as having said.

In 1955 Winslow died after a heart attack. Four years later, the then-Mrs. Winslow married Edward Burling Jr., a senior partner and son of the founder of Washington’s Covington & Burling law firm. He died in 2002.

Survivors include two children from her first marriage, Walter T. Winslow of Chevy Chase, Maryland, and Belinda Winslow of Santiago, Chile; three children from her second marriage, David W. Burling of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Anne Burling of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Lucinda Emmet of Key West, Florida, and Watch Hill, Rhode Island; 14 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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