Tray Burk, son of Margaret Tante Burk, authored the following essay on the life of his mother
Margaret Tante Burk was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1918. She attended Northwestern University before moving to California where she settled in Los Angeles.
Margaret Tante married Harry John Burk, Jr., in 1945. The couple had three children: Harry John Burk III (Tray), wife Marie; Linda Burk Garcia, (deceased) husband Jose (deceased); Jimmy Walter Burk (deceased), and stepdaughter Janice Burk Mihld. Her brother was the Honorable James Dahlgren Tante. Her grandchildren are Andres Garcia, Alicia Burk Garcia, Trevor Stirlin Burk, Brittany Marie Burk, James Tante Burk, and Jeffery Burk.
Margaret was honored in June 2011 with a proclamation from the city of Los Angeles; “for her devoted service to the people of Los Angeles as a strong voice within the community, championing city culture and philanthropic issues which has made Los Angeles a leader, nationally." The Proclamation was from Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio R. Villaraigosa, all city councilmen and executives. Los Angeles City Councilman, Tom La Bonge presented the award.
In 1974, as indication of her prominence in the business, financial, political world and her important connections, Margaret Tante Burk, was nominated and came in second to be Treasurer of the United States in the Richard Nixon Administration. Major supporters of Margaret’s nomination were:
From 1948-1956 she was vice-president of Burk Enterprises, which included the Lebec Hotel and Lebec Restaurants that she and her husband owned and developed.
From 1957-1959 Margaret worked for the Charley Farrell Racquet Club, in Palm Springs managing celebrity members.
In 1964, Margaret started working as an assistant at the Huntington Savings and Loan Association. She was quickly promoted to vice president and manager of the Wilshire-Highland branch and by the end of 1965 she became vice president and director of public relations for the entire company. These promotions were distinctive, for Margaret Tante Burk was the first female vice-president of a financial institution in Southern California. This prepared her for nomination for Treasurer of the United States.
In 1969 while working at the Huntington Savings and Loan, Margaret became involved with the Wilshire Center Chamber of Commerce. She was elected as the first female president of the chamber. Her work as Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee and of the General Membership Speaker Committee and as a member of the Transportation and Parking Committee had paved the way for this presidency. On behalf of the Wilshire Chamber of Congress Margaret had correspondence with the following:
Among her other distinctive firsts, Margaret Tante Burk become the first woman voted in to the Lions Club International.
In 1969 Margaret Tante Burk was hired to assist the general manager of the Ambassador Hotel. Throughout her twenty year career there, she coordinated thousands of public and private events in the hotel's twenty ballrooms. From international diplomatic meetings to local book clubs, from exclusive Hollywood parties to senior beauty pageants, she was the face of the Ambassador, and liaison between the public and the many social, political, and cultural luminaries who passed through the hotel in its final decades. After the Ambassador Hotels official closing Margaret kept the hotel operating as a filming location. She is responsible for numerous movies, television shows and series, being filmed there including “Pretty Woman�? and “The Aviator."
Margaret’s love for the hotel and appreciation of its history prompted her to write and publish a book entitled “Are the Stars Out Tonight? It is the story of the world famous Ambassador Hotel and Coconut Grove. This book includes a history, photographs, and anecdotes about the hotel and the Coconut Grove.
For photopgrahs of Margaret at the Ambassador see this URL: www.ambassdorarchive.net Phtographs include Columnist Walter Winchell with Margaret. Margaret with Apollo X Astronauts, Eugene Cernan, John Young, and Thomas Stafford. Margaret with musician Bobby Darin. David Eisenhower, grandson of President Eisenhower, with Margaret Burk. Iranian Ambassador Ardeshir Zahedi with Margaret. Margaret with Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos I of Spain. Margaret with then Governor of California Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan. Margaret with comedian Bob Hope. Actor James Garner with Margaret. Sylvester Stallone with Margaret. Donald Trump with Margaret. Los Angeles City Councilman John Ferraro, Donald Trump, Margaret, and Ivana Trump. Musician Duke Ellington and Neil Armstrong with Linda Garcia and Harry Burk.
Margaret Tante Burk was a columnist for three years with Meredith Publications, and contributed to such publications as “Variety�? and the “Hollywood Reporter�?.
Margaret Tante Burk co-founded the public relations firm, Burk-Hudson Public Relations, with Marylin Hudson in 1972. Their clients included the Iran National Tourist Organization and California Senior Beauty Pageant. Their public relations firm worked at the Ambassador Hotel.
Along with Adela Rogers St. Johns and Marylin Hudson, Margaret Tante Burk founded Round Table West in 1977. Round Table West served as a platform for the authors to meet their readers and promote and discuss their books. In nearly 30 years the sophisticated book club, Round Table West, hosted over 2000 authors. Margaret and Marylin put together and hosted three monthly meetings with 3 separate authors at each meeting. The meetings were in Los Angeles/Beverly Hills at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, in Newport Beach at the Balboa Bay Club and Palm Springs at the La Quinta Country Club.
The following are some of the recognized authors that were speakers at Round Table West: Ray Bradbury, Walter Cronkite, Michael Crichton, Jim Murray, James Bacon, Dean Koontz, Harold Robbins, Rev. Robert Schuler and Bob Hope.
Round Table West also worked with promoted such first-time authors as Arianna Huffington, T. Jefferson Parker, Stan Chambers, Paul Conrad, John Crean, Richard Paul Evans, Daryl Gates, David Horowitz, Rafer Johnson, Willie Shoemaker, Kelly Lang, Charles Luckman, Wolfgang Puck, Maureen Reagan, Carl Reiner, Carol Lawrence and Vickie Lawrence.
Round Table West was the largest and most recognized book club in the country with 100 to 600 members and guest attending each monthly meeting. Besides their literary work, Margaret and Marylin also helped Round Table West to collect and distribute new and used books for the needy. Round Table West provided over 300,000 books it acquired to Schools, prisons, hospitals, children’s hospital, VA, Meals on Wheels, libraries, and assisted living locations.
In addition to writing are the “Stars Out Tonight�? Margaret co-authored, “Final Curtain�? with Gary Hudson, for which they were awarded the Benjamin Franklin Award from Publishers’ Marketing Association.
Margaret assisted new authors in the writing, editing and publishing the following books: “Angels & Demons�?, by Ray Stricklyn; “When the Senate Halls Were Hallowed�?, by Dorothye G. Scott; “Laid Back in Hollywood: Remembering�?, by Patricia Medina Cotton; and "Aging Well: Using Eugeria to Stay Young and Healthy," by John-Paul Lintilhac, M. D.
Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital contracted Margaret to write a private book on the history of the hospital and the medical profession in Los Angeles and Hollywood.
Margaret met many people, in her life. Those that stand out the most, in their personal meetings, include: President Richard Nixon, President Gerald Ford, President Ronald Regan, Donald Trump, Neil Armstrong, Ivy Baker Priest, Tom La Bonge, Ray Bradbury, Donna and John Crean, Benny Goodman, Robert and Betty Young. Of course, the late Marylin Hudson was the greatest friend and partner Margaret could ever have.
Margaret Tante Burk’s philanthropic and community contributions were numerous. The following is just a sample. She founded the Hancock Park Art Council and the Huntington Organ Society. She served as the fund-raising chair for the Southern California Huntington Disease Association. She was also a board member of the Professional Women to the Philharmonic and the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society.
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