Cover photo for Lillian Burch's Obituary
Lillian Burch Profile Photo
1949 Lillian 2018

Lillian Burch

September 28, 1949 — November 18, 2018

A Celebration of Life Service will be held for Lillian "Honey" Burch at 2-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at Ijams Nature Center, in Knoxville, Tenn. Lillian, age 69, died Nov. 18 in Knoxville, where she resided with her husband Jerry Wilson and dogs Itzy and Ruckus. A lifelong advocate, Lillian passionately served as executive director of the disABILITY Resource Center in Knoxville, leading advocacy and support services to help people with disabilities lead independent and meaningful lives. She extended the agency's services to Blount County and Northeast Tennessee. Also, she was selected president of Southeast Center Directors Association and a federal peer reviewer of other centers and grants across the nation. She participated on the statewide Independent Living Council. For her leadership and community impact, Lillian was featured in the YWCA's Tribute to Women of East Tennessee. Her projects included the Spirit of ADA Celebration to honor people with disabilities and community supporters, the Extreme Challenge implemented by people with disabilities to teach disability awareness and the technology used to navigate environments, and the Be Street Smart campaign. In addition, she created, developed, and coordinated the "Be A Friend Festival" a community wide effort in Knoxville to promote friendships, stop bullying, raise awareness and acceptance, and promote friendships with all people. She volunteered as a mentor for Amachi, a program for children with one or both parents in prison. Lillian and Jerry were married at Epworth United Methodist Church in Marion, Ohio, where Lillian worked as an academic advisor for the Ohio State University Marion campus, a behavior specialist at MARCA Industries, and a teacher at Epworth Preschool and Daycare. Also, Lillian helped start the children's soccer league for the Marion Recreation Department. The couple was active in Heart of Ohio Tailwinds Bicycle Club. Lillian earned a B.A. degree in Psychology Cum Laude and achieved M.A. in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administrative Services from OSU. Born Sept. 28, 1949, in Baltimore, Md., to Lillian "Betty" Cocklin, Cardington, OH, and the late Edward G. Rulenz, Lillian enjoyed nature, spirituality, children, hiking, camping, and biking. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions may be made in her name to Friends of the Smoky Mountains. - Also surviving are: dearly loved sons Jeff (Tammy) Burch, Marion, OH, and Nathan (Lisa) Burch, Cleveland, OH; siblings Bill Brown, Riverside, CA; Darlene Slack, Cardington, OH; Eddie J. Rulenz, El Cajon, Calif.; and Mary Snyder, Santee, Calif.; sister-in-law Vicki Daas, Marion, OH; godson Cory Slack, Columbus, OH; stepfather, William E. Brown Sr., Clinton, Md.; stepsons Woody (Meredith) Wilson, Prospect, OH; Toby (Lacy) Wilson, Lake Cormorant, Miss.; six grandchildren; nieces, nephews, aunt, cousins.

Visitation Details

Saturday, December 15, 2018 2:00pm - 5:00pm, Ijams Nature Center

Service Information

Saturday, December 15, 2018 2:30pm, Ijams Nature Center

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Lillian Burch, please visit our flower store.


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