IHS 1953 Priscilla Burnham

April 2018

By Aileen Carney Sweeney

April 2018 - Ilion Priscilla Burnham


1953 Yearbook Dedication


Two awards have been presented, annually, to graduating seniors. The awards are in memory of IHS Class of 1953 member, Priscilla Jane Burnham. The awards are: the Priscilla Burnham Memorial Prize for Instrumental Music and the Priscilla Burnham Memorial Leadership Award. For those recipients, here is a brief history of the impact young "Priss" had on the community.

The 1953 Yearbook contained a memorial for Priscilla who died in October 1951 in her Junior year. The text of the yearbook memorial provides the reasons why she is remembered annually.

1953 - Yearbook Dedication

In Memory of Priscilla Burnham, called "Priss" by everyone, for here constant, sincere friendliness to all... for her remarkable talent in music and sports... for her ingenious, imaginative, and penetrating brain... for her cheerful, ever-present smile, flashing for anyone she saw... for her tremendous popularity with people both young and old... for her vitality... for her interest in any project she undertook... for her laughing brown eys... for her radiating personality.

1951 Obituary Headline

Miss Burnham, School Leader Dies in Ilion

Ilion — Miss Priscilla Jane Burnham, 15, of 55 W. Rand St., Ilion High School junior, died Oct. 22, 1951, in Ilion Hospital, after a long illness.

Miss Burnham was born Feb. 17, 1936, a daughter of Opal Studebaker Burnham and the late Lamont Burnham. Her father died Sept. 22.

Miss Burnham was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and the choir of that church, Marigold Triangle, Daughters of the Eastern Star; Rho Chapter of Beta Chi Sorority.

She was president of the Ilion High School Student Council and a member of the school's orchestra and varsity choir. She served as treasurer of the junior class and was junior editor of the Golden Quill, school yearbook.

Surviving are her mother, a sister, Nancy; two grandmothers, Mrs. Harry Burnham and Mrs. Hallie Mikesell, all of Ilion. The funeral will be at 1:00 Thursday from the Applegate Funeral Home and at 3 from the First Presbyterian Church with Dr. Paul Wagner officiating. Burial will be In Armory Hill Cemetery. - October 23, 1951 - Utica NY Daily Press

Members of Marigold Triangle, Daughters of the Eastern Star, met the night of October 24, 1951, in the Masonic Temple and then proceeded to the Applegate Funeral Home to conduct a farewell ritual for Priscilla.


1941 Lamont H. Burnham
Lamont H. Burnham
Ilion Industrial Arts Supervisor/Teacher/Coach
1941 Yearbook

Burnham Family

Lamont H. Burnham, Industrial Arts Teacher, Coach Died Unexpectedly

One month prior to Priscilla's death, Lamont H. Burnham, her father, died in his home following a brief illness.

Lamont H. Burnham, 47, of 55 West Rand St., former industrial arts instructor in Ilion High School and for several years its track coach, died unexpectedly in his home yesterday following a brief illness.

He was born in Ilion, May 19, 1904, a son of Harry and Jesse Brown Burnham. He was a graduate of Oswego Normal School and attended University of Michigan. His marriage to Opal Studebaker took place in Slippery Rock, Pa., Dec. 17, 1926. He was superintendent of the Martin Automatic Fishing Reel Company for a number of years. Mr. Burnham had lived in Ilion all his life and was a member of the Presbyterian Church and of Ilion Lodge 91 F & AM. He was for a time chairman of the Village Republican Committee.

Besides his wife he leaves two daughters, Nancy and Priscilla Burnham, all of Ilion. The funeral at 2 Tuesday afternoon from the Applegate Funeral Home with the Rev. Paul Wagner officiating. - September 23, 1951 - Utica Daily Observer


Priscilla Burnham Award Recipients

Below is an incomplete roster of the reicipients of these awards. If you were a recipient and would like your name added, please send on your year information.

Year Memorial Prize for Instrumental Music Memorial Leadership Award
2010   Rachel Stegemann
2006 Isaac E. Anyango Heidi M. Sterling
2005   Katherine Murphy
2004 Kaylynn E. Iglesias  
2003 Andrew A. Boyd Elaine M. Goldin
2002 Travis M. DeJohn  
2001 Jana L. Barrett Maggie L. McCann
1984 Bruce Phillips Jr. Nancy Fusco
1969 Jeanne Williams  
1968 Jeanne Williams  
1967 Patricia Allen  
1966 Patricia Snyder  
1965 Sharon Chambers  
1964 Edson Wood  
1963 Cathryn Pratt  
1962 Cathryn Pratt  
1961 Robert Rieman Paula Dulak


Senior Awards - Honor Deceased Alumni

Many of the senior awards remind us of the extraordinary achievements of deceased alumni. The Priscilla Burnham awards celebrated the short but remarkable life of 'Priss'. Her legacy and achievements live on in those that have had the honor of being named recipients of awards made in her memory.

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