Barbara Ann Burke, 95, passed away peacefully in Hendersonville, NC at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth and Todd Clements, on September 3rd, 2022. Barbara was born August 14th, 1927 in Springfield, Il. to her parents, Palmer and Helen Babcock.
Barbara’s happy early childhood was darkened by events of the Great Depression which caused her father to lose his haberdashery business; the stresses of which led to her parents’ divorce when she was four years old. Though she never spoke of it directly, surviving the stigma of growing up in the 1930’s as an only child of a divorced mother helped form the iron will that underlay her perpetually sunny disposition.
After WW II, she met the love of her life, Glen F. Burke, Jr. They married June 14th, 1947 and remained together for 69 years until Glen’s death on May 1st, 2016. While Glen attended the University of Illinois on the GI bill, Barbara worked for Illinois Bell. After Glen went to work for The Travelers Insurance Corporation in their Peoria, Illinois office, the family moved to Morton, Il in late 1957. Barbara focused on running their household and raising their four children: Deborah, Timothy, John and Elizabeth. When Elizabeth was old enough for elementary school, Barbara went back to work in the copy layout department of the Morton Tribune; a job she always remembered fondly as wonderful outlet for her creativity.
Glen became tired of corporate life and bought into an independent insurance agency in Hoopeston, Il moving the family there in the summer of 1970. In 1973, Glen struck out on his own and opened the Burke Insurance Agency. Barbara went to work with Glen and together they created an immensely successful business over the next 17 years, winning multiple trips to Europe and the Caribbean through insurance companies’ incentive programs. In 1990 they sold the business and retired to Hendersonville, NC.
As a cradle Episcopalian, Barbara and Glen were founding members of All Saints Episcopal Church in Morton, Illinois. Throughout her life, Barbara was a steadfast woman of faith and celebrated much joy in her service to the church as well as the community. When the couple moved to Hendersonville, they became members of St. James Episcopal Church, and Barbara served faithfully in worship roles and parish life for as long as she was able.
In addition to her work for the church, in the community and among all her friends, Barbara was well-known as an avid bridge player. But, as Barbara said many times, her greatest joy was spending time with her family. After being raised as an only child, she reveled in being surrounded by her loud and boisterous brood.
Barbara is survived by her sister-in-law Katy Deschenes (Craig); children, Deborah Burke, Timothy Burke (Valerie), John Burke (Deb), Elizabeth Clements (Todd); grandchildren, Katrina Honnold (John), Emily Markovitz (Ben), Eric Machens, Stuart Burke (Alex), Caroline Foster(Rich), Henry Clements (Liz), Mitchell Burke, Cooper Burke (Jenny); greatgrandchildren, John, Sam, Alex, James, and Hiatt.
A memorial service will be at St James Episcopal Church in Hendersonville, NC on Friday, November 11th2022 at 11:00 am with a reception following in the church fellowship hall. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Four Seasons’ Hospice in Flat Rock.
Jackson Funeral Home is assisting with the arrangements.