Brenda Borroughs, Longtime Somerset Hills Educator (1926-2016)

Mrs. Brenda Burroughs

PEAPACK AND GLADSTONE NJ - Brenda Porter Burroughs, remembered by many Somerset Hills area residents as an teacher at the Peapack-Gladstone School, the Bedminster School and as an aide at the Bedwell School, died on July 4.   The viewing will take place on Friday, July 8, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Layton Funeral Home, 475 Main St., Bedminster, N.J. The funeral will be held at St. Luke's Church on Main Street in Gladstone, N.J., on Saturday, July 9, at 10 a.m.

Ms. Borroughs was the first African-American teacher in Peapack-Gladstone.  

She was born on Aug. 13, 1926, to Stanley and Jeanette Porter in Orange, N.J.  As a student at East Orange High School, Mrs. Burroughs was honored with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) award and went on to get her degree in education at New Jersey State Teachers College.  She taught in neighboring Newark public schools for eight years (1949 to 1959).

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She began in the Peapack-Gladstone School District in 1962, teaching elemenatry education.  In 1980, Ms. Borroughs transferred to the Bedwell School in Bernardsville.  retired from Bedminster, 'students excelled under her direction'

Mrs. Burroughs was predeceased by her loving husband of fifty-two years, John Burroughs, who was a Marine veteran and she were blessed with a marriage of 52 years. Mrs. Burroughs is survived by the couple's only child, Paula.  Paula was the love of Mr. and Mrs. Burroughs' life.   She is survived also by her grandson, John Lindsey Norwood in 1992.  John Norwood was a star baseball player at Seton Hall Prep, and later at Vanderbilt University.  

Having taught nearly 1000 students as a first grade, reading, math, and basic skills teacher for K-4, Mrs. Burroughs was a dedicated professional who viewed teaching and children as her passion.  She continued to teach until her retirement in June, 2002 after the passing of her husband in 2000.  As a retiree, Mrs. Burroughs continued to educate as a classroom volunteer at Bedwell Elementary and also volunteered to tutor children in her spare time in her home.  Students excelled under her direction, given her high expectations of them and her support or advocacy when needed.

Brenda and her husband instilled in her daughter and grandson, John, values, acts of kindness, and a work ethic based on the belief of Confucius: "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." She and her husband taught them about family, dedication, passion, goal achievement, and what it means to be loved and to be a giver of love.

The Burroughs family have been congregants of St. Luke's Church since 1959, where Brenda volunteered on Parish Life Guild while her husband, John, provided photographic memories of Church activities. She was loved very deeply and will be missed by many relatives, co-workers, friends, and students. - See more at:

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