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Jane Burlak, 88

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Jane (Netta) Alexander Craig Burlak, nee Bingham, passed away suddenly at the Williamstown Commons on August 9, 2019, shortly after celebrating her 88th birthday.

Netta was born July 27, 1931 to Sidney C. Bingham and Jeanie Neil at Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, U.K. Netta always did well academically, and was the dux (valedictorian) of Irvine Royal Academy in 1949. In 1954 she was awarded the equivalent of an M.A. with first class honors in Maths and Natural Philosophy (Physics) from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, earning the Gold Medal in Math. Some people in Irvine may still remember that the students at the Academy were given a holiday because of her achievement.

On June 26, 1956 she married Jacob (Jack) Burlak; he died on November 10, 1979. Jack was born in Cape Town, South Africa; he earned his B.S. and M.S. at Cape Town University, and his Ph.D. from Cambridge University, England, U.K. Netta and Jack met while both were teaching at the University of Glasgow. Netta subsequently taught at Duke University after she and Jack relocated to the U.S. in 1965, later in life at Monmouth College, and for many years in the math department at Western Illinois University following Jack’s death, for a total of 30 years in education. During the nine years that they lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she was deeply invested in the A.A.U.W., International Women, and the Gifted children’s group that she helped found.

Netta is survived by her two children, Linda K. Burlak and David M. Burlak; her son-in-law Lawrence Smith; her sister, Beryl, in Scotland; and her three nephews and their families. To add to the Book of Memories, please visit

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