Burdick Newsletters

March/April, 2003


Eugene A. Burdick, 1912-2000

(Frank Mueller, our Burdick historian in Sarasota, FL, was a friend of Judge Eugene Burdick. The Judge passed away in late 2000. Frank sent the following obituary of one of our very distinguished Burdick relatives. - HB)

Eugene Allan Burdick, who died November 4, 2000, in Sarasota, Fla., was born in a sod house on a ranch in Stony Creek Township, Williams County, North Dakota, near Williston, North Dakota, on October 15, 1912. After graduating from Williston High School and earning a B.A. degree and a Juris Doctor from the University of Minnesota, he returned to Williston to practice law.

He married May Picard on February 14, 1939. They have two children, William Eugene Burdick, Minneapolis, Minn., and Elizabeth Burdick Cantarine, Sarasota, Fla., and four grandchildren: Mary Burdick, San Francisco, Calif., Christopher Cantarine, Clifton Park, N.Y., Robert Burdick, Minneapolis, and Anthony Cantarine, Sarasota.

A Distinguished Career. Gene's legal career encompassed private practice, three terms as State's Attorney of Williams County, five terms as North Dakota District Judge, and an appointment as a Surrogate Judge of the North Dakota Supreme Court, which he held until his death.

His legal accomplishments are without equal in the state of North Dakota. Since 1959 until his death, he represented North Dakota as a member of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL), He held various chairmanships in NCCUSL, was national president and a life member. At the time of his death, he was Chairman of the Committee on Style, a post he held for over 25 years. Because of this work at the national level, Gov. William L. Guy awarded him the North Dakota national Leadership Award.

Gene was a grammarian and an editor. For over 20 years, he took on major drafting assignments for the State of North Dakota, writing Rules of Civil Procedure; Rules of Court for the District Courts of North Dakota; Pattern Jury Instructions of the Judicial Council and Revised Dakota for the preparation of the Bench Book for the trial courts of North Dakota. He also served on the Conference of Division of Judicial Administration of ABA in Drafting the Appellate Opinion-Writing Manual; served as Judicial Council Advisor to the Subcommittee of Legislative Research Committee on Judiciary Code Revision, in charge of editing and publishing the North Dakota Century Code.

As a State Delegate to National Conference of State Trial Judges, Gene had served as Seminar Leader for Joint Committee for the Effective Administration of Justice for the states of Washington, Nebraska, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Idaho, and Alaska. Pattern Jury Instructions (NDJI-Civil and NDJI-Criminal); Juvenile Court Forms, and the State Bar Association of North Dakota.

Memberships. May always said Gene was a "clubworm." The following attests to that:

  • Member of State Bar Association of North Dakota (former president and recipient of Distinguished Service Award)
  • Member of American Bar Association
  • Member of Committee of Appellate Judges
  • Member of National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • Member of Board of Directors of American Judicature Society (recipient of Herbert Harley Award)
  • Member of Faculty, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Boulder, Colorado
  • Member of Advisory Council to State of Alaska on Plea-bargaining Project
  • Member of Juvenile Judges Advisory Council to the Social Services Board of North Dakota on matters of Children and Youth
  • Chairman of Governor's Committee on Children and Youth (attended the White House Conference on Children and Youth)
  • Member and Vice Chairman of Executive Committee of Governor's Council on Human Resources
  • Member of Executive Committee of North Dakota Conference on Social Welfare
  • President of James Memorial Library of Williston (recipient of the Outstanding Trustee Award of American Library Association)
  • American Law Institute (Life Member)
  • Institute of Judicial Administration
  • Judicial Member of Trial Lawyers of America
  • Honorary Member of Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity
  • Honorary Member of Order of the Coif
  • Member of Sigma Nu social fraternity
  • Member of American Contract Bridge League
  • Member of Sarasota Yacht Club

Gene was listed by Marquis in Who's Who in the Midwest, Who's Who in America, and Who's Who in American Law. He is also listed by Maher in Who's Who in North Dakota.

Personal Notes. Gene had varied interests throughout his life, including:

Grandchildren: His pride and joy.

The English language and grammar: from the bench, he mercilessly corrected the grammar of unknowing lawyers; at home, he hammered away at "may I" and "can I", paving the way for his children to attain A's in English, if not algebra; on his deathbed at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, he not-so-subtly admonished his pulmonologist on the proper use of "awakened" versus "awokened", and his attending physician on the difference between "lay" and lie".

Fudge-making: a holiday skill (in this case, an artform, really) he began to perfect as a teenager and continued improving through Christmas 1999. Judge's fudge became a staple at Christmas parties in North Dakota that continued in later years in Florida, even becoming a traditional annual treat eagerly anticipated by the Sarasota Yacht Club staff.

Duplicate bridge: he enjoyed the weekly game at the yacht club.

Crossword puzzles: being a bit of a lexicographer, he was a regular "doer" of the daily puzzle.

His web page: http://home1.gte.net/eburdick/index.htm where he shared his life, his recipes, his views on political issues of the day, his self-composed list of similes and his take on transitive verb predicates.

Golf: a game he played before he took up sailing.

Sailing: a sport he took up when the U.S. Corps of Engineers flooded the Burdick ranch along with other Missouri River bottom land and created the second largest man-made lake in the country.

Deer hunting: a sport he quit when one day he looked into those beautiful brown eyes and could not pull the trigger.

Samoyed dogs: a breed he loved, starting with his dog, Buck, who saved his life after Gene, as a lad, fell through the icy Little Muddy River. Later, his affection was transferred to Sibby in the 1960s, then to his two granddogs, Yuri in the 1970s and Rowdy in the 1990s.

American Indian collection: his significant collection of native American clothing and other artifacts donated to the State Historical Society of North Dakota. Items were gathered some 70 years ago as Gene and his father traveled the state trading Sioux Indians beads for goods. The Sioux called Gene Tonka, meaning sinew, because he only collected beadwork sewn with the tendon of deer.

Politically Correct. Eugene A. Burdick was the last survivor of the prominent North Dakota immediate family of Usher L. Burdick and Emma C. Burdick. He was one of three children to that union. Gene's father, Usher, served as state senator and lieutenant governor of North Dakota, and for 20 years as North Dakota's lone congressman-at-large in the U.S. House of Representatives. Gene's brother, Quentin, served 32 years representing North Dakota in the U.S. Senate, the third most senior senator when he died in office. Gene's sister, Eileen, an attorney in her own right, was married to an Ohio attorney who also served in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Yutokeca: Transitions


Taking Over for Dad

Sarasota Herald-Tribune, December 18, 2002

(Frank Mueller also supplied the following story that ran in the Sarasota paper. It's the recipe for Eugene Burdick's Judge's Fudge. Sounds like a tradition many Burdicks would enjoy. - HB)

Liz Cantarine of Bradenton has been making the family fudge recipe for about four years, but "Judge's Fudge" has been around since 1928, when her father, Eugene Burdick, then just 16, began making fudge in North Dakota.

Once he had a family of his own, Burdick enlisted his children to help him make the fudge for Christmas gifts for friends and neighbors.

The fudge and the aluminum pot it had been made in since 1928 made their way to Sarasota when Cantarine's parents moved here in 1985. The treat became a holiday staple at the Sarasota Yacht Club's Duplicate Bridge group.

Cantarine said that four years ago, with her dad in his 80s, she decided to "keep the tradition alive." She wrote that while she agreed to use the pot, her father was "somewhat dismayed" when she insisted on mixing the fudge with her Kitchen Aid mixer instead of a wooden spoon.

Burdick died in 2000 and Cantarine said that she has "loving embraced" the responsibility of being the family's official maker of Judge's Fudge.

Judge's Fudge:

  • 1/3 cup safflower oil
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (Baker's or Nestle's)
  • 1 cup 1 percent milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4-1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cup broken walnuts

Coat inside of 4-quart saucepan with oil. Over low heat, combine salt, water, milk, syrup, and sugar. When sugar mixture is full dissolved, add the chocolate and return pan to low heat. Stir often to prevent any chocolate from sticking to bottom of pan. Wash spoon after each use in mixture to prevent "sugaring." Boil slowly to soft ball stage (ball slumps on fingertip), about 237 degrees F in Florida.

Remove pan from stove, cover pan and place on trivet to cool. Do not stir after removing pan from burner until mixture has cooled to about 100 degrees F (nearly body temperature). Cooling time is about 2-1/2 hours. After the first hour of cooling, remove cover and spread melted margarine over surface without stirring. Leave uncovered for balance of cooling period.

When mixture is cool, add vanilla extract and begin beating, folding and working. When mixture starts to thicken, add walnuts. Continue working until the mixture loses its gloss, drippings keep their character, and the "beating" is hard to work. Then shove mixture into a buttered pan (or waxed paper) and spread. Within minutes, cut into squares and cover pan with plastic wrap to keep this "bodacious fudge mellow until you are ready to serve it to your drooling chocoholics."


Burdick News... Up-To-The-Minute!

Congratulations, Joe and Melissa Burdick! (jburdick@ee.net) They are the proud new parents of the newest Burdick: Miranda Joy, born January 16, 8:24 PM. Miranda weighed 7lbs 11oz and was 19" long. Mother and daughter are fine. By the way, don't forget that Joe also publishes a Burdick Newsletter. You can find them on burdickfamily.org under the "Newletter" selection. Joe provides a complete recap of the new arrival and, like all new Dads, will gladly supply pictures!

Speaking of Dad's, my Dad, Dave Burdick (jdburdick27@netonecom.net), is a new husband as of October. Dave and new wife Ann live in Evart, Michigan. Drop the newlyweds a line, they would enjoy it.

Charles Murray (motocrosskxrider@yahoo.com) whose mother is a Burdick, has some unusual family heirlooms. One, a bullet that was removed from the leg of his great-grandfather during the Civil War, was unfortunately lost in a fire in 1988. But Charles has a family Bible dating to the 1700s. He also has a pistol carried by Lawrence Wylie Burdick during the World War I race riots, and an oil painting of the Burdick family homestead in Albion, WI painted by Lawrence T. Burdick. Charles (and I) would like to know more about these items. Can anyone help? I know there are some historic Bible experts out there...

Connie Lear Wright (DBBFAN111@aol.com) has been off-line for a few weeks. She had surgury on her neck to relieve some pain. Too soon to tell if it's worked yet, but she's back to her crafts and genealogy. Drop her a line in Nebraska to wish her well.

Perhaps you can also drop a very special "hello" note to Hannah Elizabeth Burdick (PrInCeSS02445@aol.com) in New York. Hannah is turning 12 in a couple months and is very interested in Burdick history. With dedicated young people like Hannah, I would say our family's future looks bright.

Elizabeth Burdick Murphy (sixmurfs@attglobal.net) has hit a wall in her genealogy research. She is searching for information regarding Lodema Lee, who married Adam Burdick in 1815. Elizabeth is descended from Lodema's son, Hamilton, who was born in 1816. She is trying to confirm Lodema's birth date of 7/27/1770 and place of death. She may be the daughter of Joel Lee and Lydia Brown, who were married on 2/22/1763, in Connecticut; Lodema and family lived in New York. It appears that Lodema was related to Robert E. Lee, but Elizabeth has not been able to confirm this. Can anyone help?

Maria Johnson (mjohnson@adelphia.net) is looking for information about Susan Burdick Davis. Susan wrote a few books published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the 1940's. Does anyone know more?

Speaking of authors, Diane Andres (andres@pennswoods.net) wants to inform us of a new book by Melissa Burdick Harmon on Princess Diana. Looks like a good read, it's on Amazon.com, I'll be ordering a copy for myself. Does anyone out there know the author (or are you the author)? If so, let me know.

David Kendall Martin (martind@westelcom.com) may be on the brink of positively identifying Hannah Gray who married Kendal Burdick. He would like to know of any Philip Burdicks who were born before 1800. Can you help?

You know the PBS series "Frontier House" and the BBC's "Victorian House"? Kathy Harvey (fharvey@wi.rr.com) passes along information about the upcoming "Colonial House", where a family will live like early settlers. Should be interesting to see how Robert Burdick probably lived. The show's web site is: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/colonialhouse/index.html .

Jim Boyd (jrboyd4@attbi.com), a good friend of mine, is researching the Boyd and Hartman families. While scanning through the 1870 census, he found a Lyman Burdick who lived a few doors away from his Hartman relative in St. Joseph County, Michigan. I know there is a large contingent of Burdicks in that part of the state and in neighboring northern Indiana, does anyone know this Lyman? Both Jim and I would be interested.


Copyright Howard E. Burdick 2018. All Rights Reserved.

howard@burdickfamily.org