HomeCommunity NewsLaurell: Family Service Agency Honors Longtime Civil Servant

Laurell: Family Service Agency Honors Longtime Civil Servant

Judie Wilke, the woman who has served as Burbank’s assistant city manager for the past four years, was in her teens when the world lost John Lennon to an assassin’s bullet, the White House was occupied by Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan followed by George H.W. “Poppy” Bush, and the Prince of Wales married a shy woman named Diana.

The 1980s were a time when the status conscious adorned their wrists with a Rolex (real or fake), while the fashionistas opted for Swatch watches. Fashion was inspired by Madonna, hip-hop, grunge and heavy metal. Men wore pastel jackets with the sleeves rolled up a la “Miami Vice,” and women made workout clothes de rigueur for everyday wear thanks to Olivia Newton-John and Jane Fonda.

After graduating from Burbank High School and matriculating at California State University, Long Beach, Wilke was hired by the city of Burbank as a management intern. She moved on to ever higher positions as the elected city clerk, followed by managerial positions with community development, finance, management services, and parks and recreation. In 2019, she was appointed to serve as the city’s assistant city manager by then newly appointed City Manager Justin Hess.

At the end of this year, after her 30-plus years of employment with the city in which she saw 24 men and women serve as mayor, Wilke will retire.

Wilke’s father, the late Larry Stamper, the senior pastor at Burbank First United Methodist Church, served as a member of the city council and as the city’s mayor. Her mother, Sue Stamper, who died in 2007, was the first woman president of the Burbank Community YMCA and an active member of dozens of community organizations such as the Burbank Noon Kiwanis, Burbank Temporary Aid Center, Zonta Club, Rotary Club, National Charity League and San Fernando Valley Girl Scouts.

In recognition of Wilke’s service, the Family Service Agency of Burbank presented Wilke with the Mary Alice O’Connor Visionary Award during their recent “Imagine a City” gala held in the courtyard of Nickelodeon Studios.

First presented in 2007, the Vision Award is given annually to individuals who have done extraordinary work in the Burbank community and honors the memory of O’Connor who was a dedicated volunteer and founding board member of FSA who died in 2010.

Among the many notables and dignitaries who came out to support FSA and honor Wilke were state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Vice Mayor Nick Schultz, City Councilwomen Tamala Takahashi and Zizette Mullins, City Treasurer Krystle Palmer, Burbank Police Chief Mike Albanese who also serves as FSA’s board president, former Mayors Marsha Ramos and Emily Gabel-Luddy, and former City Managers Robert “Bud” Ovrom and Mary Alvord.

In accepting the award, Wilke referenced the city’s commitment to the work of FSA.

“The Family Service Agent of Burbank has dedicated itself to providing mental health services, ensuring that every individual — regardless of age or background — has access to the care and support they deserve,” said Wilke.

Lauding the organization as a “beacon of hope for many who [feel] lost,” Wilke said that FSA was always there to remind those individuals that there’s a community behind them.

During her closing remarks, Wilke extended deep gratitude to everyone present.

“It has been an honor to serve my hometown community, to witness its evolution, and to be a part of its story,” said Wilke. “I am filled with hope for our future, knowing that with your continued support, we can create a city that future generations will be proud to call home.”

The Family Service Agency of Burbank is a nonprofit social service agency dedicated to providing quality mental health care for all and eliminating domestic violence, suicide, and all other forms of interpersonal violence, as well as preventing homelessness and serving our veterans.

The organization provides critical life-changing, and often lifesaving, counseling and preventive services at their Burbank Boulevard facility, on 18 Burbank school campuses, and in three residential treatment facilities.

“We are dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people in a complicated society that stigmatizes those seeking psychological care and has minimized the impact of domestic violence on women, men, children, and our communities,” said FSA Executive Director Laurie Bleick during the gala. “We believe that everyone should be free from judgment and shame to seek the care they need. We believe that all should live free of domestic violence and all forms of interpersonal abuse. By improving one life, one family, we hope to improve our community and our world.”

For more information about the agency and its services, or to make a financial donation, call (818) 845-7671 or visit familyserviceagencyofburbank.org.

Among the 350-plus who came out to support FSA and honor Judie Wilke were Rey and Gema Sanchez with Michael and Caroline Cusumano.
Family Service Agency Executive Director Laurie Bleick welcomed Vice Mayor Nick Schultz to the 2023 “Imagine a City” gala.
Former City Manager Robert “Bud” Ovrom and his wife, Denise Ovrom, were among those who wished Judie Wilke well on her retirement.
Among the dignitaries in attendance were City Councilwoman Tamala Takahashi and her husband Yosh Takahashi, City Councilwoman Zizette Mullins and her husband, Mike Mullins, and City Treasurer Krystle Palmer and her husband, Sean Palmer.
The event’s honoree Judie Wilke with her husband, Tom, and state Sen. Anthony Portantino enjoying the gala.
Honoring the work of FSA and the career of Judie Wilke was Police Chief and FSA board President Mike Albanese.

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

First published in the October 21 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

Most Popular

[bsa_pro_ad_space id=3]