Elizabeth Jane “Bessie” <I>Waters</I> Burbank

Elizabeth Jane “Bessie” Waters Burbank

Hastings, Barry County, Michigan, USA
Death 19 Jun 1977 (aged 89)
Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, USA
Burial Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, USA
Plot Front yard of Luther Burbank home - in an unmarked & undefined grassy area - where the Cedar of Lebanon tree used to stand.
Memorial ID 102306763 · View Source
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Wife of the world famous plant wizard & food inventor, Luther Burbank, who invented the potato that makes the world's best French fries.

Mrs. Burbank was born in Hastings, Michigan, the daughter of Riley Crawford Waters & Josephine Gregory Waters, and through her maternal great-grandmother she was said to be related to Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin.

She was educated at Olivet College, and worked in the editorial department of an eastern publishing company and as a proofreader and editor of author's manuscripts, before moving to California in 1912, where she lived with her sister, in Berkeley. When her brother-in-law's business brought him and his family to Santa Rosa, the then Miss Waters met Burbank, whom she assisted, as his personal secretary, in editing a treatise covering his field notes.

This project grew into a 12 volume set of books called "Luther Burbank - His Methods and Discoveries and Their Practical Application."

Luther & Elizabeth were married on December 21, 1916, in San Francisco. He was 67, she was 29. They had no children.

After her famous husband died in 1926, Mrs. Burbank subdivided & sold a portion of the estate, while donating the home & gardens(1.6 acres) to Santa Rosa Junior College in 1935, which later transfered the property to the City of Santa Rosa in 1955, however, she always retained the right to live in the house and enjoy the gardens until her death.

The family dog Bonita is also buried with Elizabeth & Luther.

Family Members



There was never a headstone, or marker of any kind.

Gravesite Details Originally, her ashes were buried under the Cedar of Lebanon tree - which was removed in 1989 - due to root disease.

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  • Created by: CrabTreeHotSprings
  • Added: 17 Dec 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 102306763
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Elizabeth Jane “Bessie” Waters Burbank (23 Dec 1887–19 Jun 1977), Find A Grave Memorial no. 102306763, citing Luther Burbank Memorial Home and Gardens Cemetery, Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California, USA ; Maintained by CrabTreeHotSprings (contributor 47987997) .