Gene Annette Burger

Strifflers Family Funeral Homes

Obituaries | The Tube City Almanac | September 21, 2022

The life of a well-known costume designer and conservator associated with Westmoreland County Historical Society from 1978 to 1992, died, September 15, 2022.

Gene Annette Lacey Burger passed on after an extended stay at Greensburg Care Center after a stroke a few years ago.

Gene’s sewing as she told me started at age 3 with her maternal grandmother Margaret Derr Muse. Margaret was a fantastic quilter and taught Gene how to make clothes without a pattern. She stayed with her grandma and grandpa Wesley Muse on their farm in Buena Vista while her mother Grace Muse Lacey taught at Clairton High School. Her father Harry Lacy worked in Harrisburg for OSHA. Her education at Long Beach State University in history and anthropology and studied at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts with postgraduate work in England on costumes and fabric history and Design in 1986 and 1989 all came together for her Fashion Show created designed and directed by Gene. From the Skin-Side Out, a Pageant of American History in Costume was an award-winning reproduction fashion show along with being a curator of collections from 1978 to 1992 at Westmoreland County Historic Society in Hannas Town Greensburg.

With her love of History and fabric and textiles I can see how her award-winning show came to be, as I mentioned sewing at age 3 and all of the knowledge from her grandma gave her a wonderful base to design and sew 112 costumes spanning time from 1682 to 1900. Gene was the 1st place winner for Civil War ball gown competition in Gettysburg College. The show went to multiple groups in a 5-state area with over 750 appearances. Gene was deeply involved in genealogy for all of her families in her tree and I was fortunate to be helped with three of my ancestor families and learned how to start my tree.

Gene was divorced and left her home in Greensburg and settled in Munhall on East 8th Avenue. She lived in an apartment above the store, Steps In Time where she had a place to hold meetings for AA. There she made so many friends, at Thanksgiving and Christmas with some help they enjoyed her delicious ham and turkey dinners. She had a big heart for people needing help. She moved to an apartment in McKeesport and suffered a stroke to end her independence. She had lived a full life with experiences too numerous to mention.

I would like to thank Greensburg Care Center where she received wonderful care from all the employees and doctors. Again, she made a lot of friends over the five years she was there.

It has been my privilege to have known my second cousin through the years. I hope a lot of you knew her too and have fond memories.

She had no siblings, and Gene did not wish to have any services. Arrangements were handled by Strifflers of White Oak Cremation and Mortuary Services, 1100 Lincoln Way, White Oak, PA 15131 (Sue Striffler Galaski, supervisor, 412-678-6177).

If anyone would like to make donation to a charity in her name, please consider Homestead Park United Methodist Church at 4231 Shady Avenue, Munhall PA 15120.

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Originally published September 21, 2022.

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