Longtime Grassley Aide Dies at Age 87

Posted April 17, 2007 at 6:25pm

Betty Burger, longtime chief case worker for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), died of cancer April 14 at Capital Hospice. She was 87.

Throughout her 32 years on Capitol Hill, Burger handled some 30,000 constituent requests, addressing GI issues, elderly concerns and Farmers Home Administration matters. [IMGCAP(1)]

During an April 16 Senate memorial tribute, Grassley described Burger, who was still on his payroll up to the time of her death, as the “rationale for eliminating mandatory retirement” and described her as a “dedicated public servant” who “made a difference for Iowans.”

Born in Attica, Iowa, Burger grew up in Knoxville, Iowa, before moving to Virginia with her husband and their children in 1967. She began her Capitol Hill career that year when she went to work for Rep. Fred Schwengel (R-Iowa), followed by two years of service in the office of Rep. Bob Hanrahan (R-Ill.) before joining Grassley.

Besides her extensive Congressional career, Burger also assumed a number of leadership roles, including a term as vice chairwoman of the Jefferson County Republican Central Committee in 1962 and membership in the Republican Women of Capitol Hill.

Wife of the late John Burger, she is survived by her son, William Burger and his wife, Celia, of Iowa City, Iowa; three daughters and their husbands, Barbara and Phil Hirschler of Fairfield, Iowa, Carol and Erik Winborn of Fairfax Station, Va., Terri and Kenny Burney of Burke, Va.; and her sister, Barbara Ridnouer of Knoxville, Iowa. She also is survived by 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 19 at Messiah United Methodist Church in Springfield, Va. Expressions of sympathy may be made to Capital Hospice, 4715 N. 15th St., Arlington Va.