Mary Frances Burke

March 24, 2020

Mary Frances Burke

Mary F. Burke  –  of Woburn, a life long resident of Woburn, March 24th, 2020 at the age of ninety six.  Beloved daughter of the late Charles H. and Elnora C. (Kearns) Burke.  Dear sister of the late John Burke, and his wife Margaret.  Devoted aunt of John Burke, his wife Helena of CA, Kathleen Burke of NJ and the late Marie Burke. Very dear cousin of Mary E. Maguire of Woburn. Long time cherished friend of Mary N. Murphy, her late husband Paul of Medford and their children Mary Elizabeth DeCamp of Arlington, Melanie Murphy of Medford and Paula Silveira of Woburn and the late Christine Murphy, Larry and Betty Hartigan .   As a result of the present health concerns,  all services for Mary will be private, with the anticipation of a Memorial Mass to be celebrated later in the spring.  Remembrances honoring Mary may be made to her alma mater, St. Charles School, 8 Summer Street, Woburn, MA  01801.  Arrangements are under the direction of the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn.

Mary Frances Burke, a lifelong resident of Woburn, passed away peacefully on Tuesday morning, March 24th, 2020. The beloved daughter of the late Charles and Elnora (Kearns) Burke, she was ninety-six years of age.

Mary was born in Buford, Georgia but returned with her family to their native Woburn, Massachusetts. Raised in Woburn’s South End, Mary attended St. Charles Elementary and High School, graduating with the class of 1941. She loved her education with the Sisters of Notre Dame and attended school reunions even into her 90’s. She attended Lowell Teachers College, now the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, graduating in 1945. Following graduation, Mary and four close friends drove across the United States, taking the northern route west and returning home by the southern route. Mary’s first year of teaching was in Ware, Massachusetts and her second in Woburn. For the next 40 years Mary taught second grade in Medford at the Forest Park School. She was a dedicated, accomplished, precise, and attentive teacher concerned that her students master all their subjects and behave well. She was deeply fond of her students and thought often of them throughout life. Mary’s love and concern for children was one of the defining aspects of her many years.

Mary loved to travel and had an insatiable thirst for fun, adventure, and knowledge. She was bright, articulate, and intelligent, and had a particular love of current events and news.  Mary was an avid follower of New England sports teams and had both extensive knowledge of and abiding love for the Boston Red Sox. For Mary, good conversation with friends old and new was central to existence. Her second language was music; she played the piano and sang on many occasions, formal or impromptu.

Mary shared her life with her dearest friend Mary Murphy, Mary’s husband Paul, and their four daughters. Their friendship began in college and flourished throughout their lives. On all holidays and at all family events, “Mary Burke” was a beloved participant. She was also the cherished friend of college classmate K. Elizabeth Hartigan, her husband Lawrence, their four children, and a third dear teacher friend, Mary Hudgins. She was the proud and loving aunt of John, Marie and Kathleen Burke.

Mary was one of the first residents of Place Lane, Woburn. She decorated her condo to her specifications, showcasing fine art and travel mementos that she loved so well, making many dear friends and being active in social events and groups. She also served a number of terms on the Condo Board.

Mary lived a life of faith, stability, and interest. She loved her parish church of St. Charles, where she volunteered over the years in a number of capacities including counting the collection. She had a full and well-lived life as a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, colleague, and confidante who touched many along the way. She was predeceased by her parents, the late Charles H. and Elnora C. (Kearns) Burke, her brother John and his wife Margaret, her niece Marie Burke, and cherished friends Paul Murphy, his daughter Christine Murphy, and Lawrence and Elizabeth Hartigan.

Mary is lovingly survived by her nephew, John Burke, Jr. and his wife Helena of CA, niece Kathleen Burke of NJ, very dear cousin Mary E. Maguire of Woburn, long-time cherished friend Mary N. Murphy of Medford, her daughters Mary Elizabeth DeCamp of Arlington, Melanie Murphy of Medford, Paula Silveira of Woburn, as well as Kathleen Hartigan of Marion, Lawrence Hartigan of CA, John Hartigan of Andover, and Clare Skerry of SC. She is also survived by many dear colleagues and friends, including Marilyn Riccio, Mary Ann Bell, Doris Luppi and Karen Lundsgaard.

 As a result of the present health concerns,  all services for Mary will be private, with the anticipation of a Memorial Mass to be celebrated later in the spring.  Remembrances honoring Mary may be made to her alma mater, St. Charles School, 8 Summer Street, Woburn, MA  01801.  Arrangements are under the direction of the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn.

 

As a result of the present health concerns,  all services for Mary will be private, with the anticipation of a Memorial Mass to be celebrated later in the spring.  Remembrances honoring Mary may be made to he alma mater, St. Charles School, 8 Summer Street, Woburn, MA  01801.  Arrangements are under the direction of the Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn.

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  1. Laura Vitagliano

    Miss Burke was also my second grade teacher at the Forest Park. She was a wonderful teacher with a great sense of humor. After I became a teacher, I found myself back at the Forest Park teaching. I had such a difficult time going into the teacher’s room with her and calling her Mary! I have so many fond memories. You touched the lives of many students.

  2. Charlene (Kenney) Fish

    So many lovely memories of my second grade teacher, Miss Burke and so lucky to see her again at a St. Charles Christmas concert with my own children twenty plus years ago. She was one in a million! God bless you Miss Burke.

  3. Lola Lombardo-Mastracci

    Mary was also my second grade teacher in 1968. She had such as wonderful sense of humor with her students. She had a few catch-phrases I remember her saying such as, “Oh Sweet Owl”, and “On my word…”
    She will hold a special place in all of our hearts.

  4. My dear Aunt Mary. Helena and I had such a nice weekend 2 years ago with you. We enjoyed our pre-dinner glass of wine and continued to build our family tree at your dining room table. Rest in peace and tell my dad that I miss him.

  5. She was a wonderful 2nd grade teacher. I remember I wrote her a note, as a 7 year old. It said, “I love you” She wrote me a note back that said, “I love you too, a bushel and a peck and hug around the neck!” My seven year old heart treasured that note. My 54 year old heart, remembers it to this day. She was an excellent teacher with a kind heart. The world is a better place because she was in it.

  6. I am so sad to read of Mary’s passing. She was a wonderful friend to me. Please let me know if there will be a graveside service that I could attend for her. Thank you.

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