LAKE GEORGE Following the death this week of long-time Lake George Village Sewer Plant Superintendent Reggie Burlingame, local officials voiced fond recollections of not only his professional expertise, but his character.
Burlingame, 61, died Saturday Jan. 28 at home — with his wife Elly by his side — after fighting throat cancer for about 18 months.
Village Mayor Robert Blais said that Burlingame had not only operated the plant with expertise, but he did so with a sense of profound dedication.
“Employees like Reggie come along very seldom — he took as much interest in protecting Lake George as he did in his responsibility in operating the wastewater treatment plant,” Blais said.
Burlingame won three professional awards, one of them major. About a decade ago, he was named New York State Wastewater Plant Operator of the Year. Last spring, he was honored by the New York Rural Water Association as their "2011 Friend of Rural Water,” Blais said.
“Reggie was well known around the state,” he said.
Burlingame’s dedication to his work was exemplified by one of his last outings, Blais said, noting that just three days before Burlingame’s death, he rolled into sewer plant in his wheelchair to make sure that everything was running well.
Town Clerk Darlene Gunther also praised Burlingame’s attributes.
“He was simply the best,” she said. “We’ll all miss him badly.”
Village Public Works Superintendent Dave Harrington praised Burlingame’s knowledge of the plant operations, plus his ability to work well with others in carrying out major projects.
“Reggie was certainly one of a kind,” he said. “We've missed him a lot at the plant this past month.”
In late December, Blais held a ceremony in which the road to the sewer plant was re-dedicated as “Burlingame Boulevard” in his honor.
Blais said Reggie brightened the lives of people he encountered, day after day, with his vibrant sense of humor and ever-present smile.