obituary header
Welcome to the memorial page for

Burleigh Taylor Wilkins

October 13, 2015
 Light a Candle
 Leave a Condolence
Message from Tom Holden
November 18, 2015 12:47 PM

The UC Santa Barbara Philosophy Department has lost a dear colleague, friend, and mentor. Burleigh of course wrote many books and articles in political philosophy and in the philosophy of history. As a scholar, he had a wonderful intellectual life that anyone might wish for. But in addition to his research and scholarship, he especially loved to teach, and I know he will be vividly remembered by the many students he inspired with his generosity of spirit and love for philosophy. We will miss him. Tom Holden (Chair, Department of Philosophy, UCSB)
Message from Dana Spoonerow
November 19, 2015 12:18 PM

I first met Burleigh in 1987 when I began working in the Philosophy department as a staff member.  I left after a year and a half for another staff position on campus and was always amazed that over the next 25 or so years, he never failed to recognize and acknowledge me when we would see each other on campus.  In 2010, I begin working for the South Hall Administrative Support Center of which the Philosophy department is a part of.  Burleigh once again became a part of my daily working life.  He had slowed down physically quite a bit by then, but his sharp mind continued to entertain me with interesting and quite often, very funny stories. He was truly one of a kind and will never be forgotten by those of us who worked with him at the SASC.
Message from Kathy McKinney
November 19, 2015 3:36 PM

I began my job in the Department of Philosophy in 1983 as the Business Officer.  Burleigh was not just a member of the faculty, but a friend to me. I don't need to write about his accomplishments as a professor of philosophy.  I want to write about the other side of Burleigh Wilkins.  Quite often we would have long talks and he would tell me about his children, Brita, Carla, and William. He was not only a proud father but also a very proud grandfather. He would show me new pictures of Jack and Clark whenever he received them in the mail.   In his southern drawl, Burleigh would tell us (the staff) stories about his childhood and his farm in Virginia. He did have a love for cars, especially fast ones.  One time he took me for a ride in his red Ferrari convertible and, I had to admit later to him, I was a bit frightened at the speed we were going.  However, he handled that car like a pro.  Burleigh was one of a kind and I am honored that he was part of my life.  He is missed and he was loved by many who had the privilege of knowing Burleigh Taylor Wilkins.  My heartfelt condolences to his family.
Message from Valerie Williams Smith
November 24, 2015 5:57 AM

Brita and Carla,
I am so sorry for your loss.  Though I only saw Burleigh during the summers I feel like I knew him well through the stories told by Mom and Aunt Mary.  Brita, I enjoyed visiting with you and your family last summer and the video message from Burleigh was so special.  I know this is a difficult time for all of you, but know that my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Message from John-Michael Kuczynski
November 25, 2015 7:14 PM

My deepest condolences. Burleigh was my dissertation adviser. He was a ray of sunshine and decency in a dark world. I met him in 1999 when I first enrolled and I instantly knew he was a true scholar and gentleman. I wrote my dissertation in his field (law), simply so that I could work with him. He was a tremendous thinker, and in his quietly decent way he influenced a lot of people. He actually had principles, and people---the right people---knew it. I will miss him. John-Michael Kuczynski, PhD (2006)
Message from Mark Bernstein
December 9, 2015 9:06 PM

Burleigh was on my dissertation committee some 34 years ago. Although we kept in only the most infrequent contact, I have always thought of him fondly, and am saddened by his passing.
My sympathies to his family.
Message from Angelo Corlett
April 5, 2016 4:04 PM

I was a graduate student of Burleigh's from 1985-1988 before he encouraged me to transfer to the University of Arizona to complete my work with one of his former teachers, Joel Feinberg. I knew Burleigh as a brilliant thinker and a kind person. I enjoyed taking each course he taught while I was at UCSB, and became a better philosopher as a result. But his mentoring of me did not stop when I left UCSB. It continued throughout my doctoral studies and up until his death decades later. Burleigh seemed to have an endless supply of wisdom. He was always there for me when I needed personal or professional advice. He was the most active of the very active and distinguished editorial board members of THE JOURNAL OF ETHICS: AN INTERNATIONAL PHILOSOPHICAL REVIEW Springer) since I founded the journal in 1995. He refereed seemingly countless submissions at my request and provided valuable reports on each one. But he also provided me wise advice about the direction of the journal that has made it so successful and highly respected.

I genuinely enjoyed our time team-teaching some sessions of his summer course on philosophy of law. It was always great to spend time with Burleigh like that. And he always treated me the same, whether student or former student and peer. He loved to teach and write, and he was superb at each.

Burleigh also had a tremendous sense of humor. He was almost always prepared during most every one of our face-to-face meetings or phone calls (hundreds over the decades) with a joke or two. And his unpretentiousness was much appreciated. It was not lost on us how an old southern gentleman from Virginia got along so well with a vato from East LA, and vice-versa. But life and philosophy brought together quite a duo as friends.

I truly miss Burleigh, but I dedicate many of my classes to him, sharing with my students why his work and life was important. I will never forget him.
Message from Daniel Galley
April 21, 2016 4:42 PM

Professor Wilkins was one of my favorite teachers at UCSB.  We enjoyed many laughs together and he was definitely a "southern gentleman".  A very kind and excellent educator.  I will always remember you, sir!
Message from Dr. Fred Young
March 22, 2017 4:16 PM

I just heard about this and I share the grief. He was a friend and honestly one of the finest people I have ever met.
© 2019 Fox And James Funeral Home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS