Madison, Wisconsin - Maria Burger, age 94, of Madison passed away on September 20, 2016.

Born November 4, 1921 in Prague, Czechoslovakia to Josef Burger and Zdenka (Dewetterova) Burgerova, Maria completed high school in 1941 at the Akademicke Gymnasium in Prague. A bright and motivated student, she earned her four-year Engineer of Agriculture degree from Prague University in 1947, in just two years! (The math seems off here till you factor in WWII)

In 1948, Maria came to the USA, to Bozeman, Montana, on a fellowship from the American Association of University Women. She earned a BS in Agriculture in 1949, and graduated with a MS in Dairy Manufacturing in 1950. She completed her PhD in Dairy Chemistry and Bacteriology, at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, finishing in 1953. She enjoyed a prestigious career as a Scientist in the Food Bacteriology Department for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, until her retirement in 1982.

Maria remained in the USA to escape the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, and became a US citizen. She was instrumental in assisting her brother, Joseph Burger, to become a US citizen in 1958. Maria, her brother Josef and his wife Angela formed a corporation called Michnice West in 1973, and farmed over 800 acres in central Wisconsin for 18 years, raising beef cattle and sheep. Michnice (pronounced Mick-Neet-Cee) was the name of a rural village in Bohemia where Maria spent the summers of her childhood on her family's farm.

Maria was very close to her five nieces and nephews, the children of Josef and Angela, and always encouraged them to learn about Czechoslovakia and the family members that remained there. In May of 1990, just months after the Velvet Revolution changed Czechoslovakia back to a democracy, Maria made her first visit back to Prague in 41 years and was delighted to once again see her family and homeland in person.

A loving and valuable friend to many, Maria enjoyed helping her friends and loved ones, whether working on the farm, teaching cooking, or shoveling snow for her neighbors! A devout Catholic, she lived a good and simple life as an example of how to care for and help others. She spent her free time reading, at the Opera, cooking, knitting, and listening to sports. An avid jigsaw puzzler, bridge player and mediator, she spared no effort over the years to assist her relatives from around the world to come to the USA, to learn about this country and build family bonds which have enriched many lives.

Preceded by her Father, Mother, Sister Zdenka and her brother-in-law Eda; Maria is survived by her brother Joseph, his wife Angela, and a passel of nieces of nephews.

Funeral services will be held at a later date, and an obituary will be published before the service.

Cress Funeral & Cremation Service
3610 Speedway Road, Madison