Mary Jean Burke passed away peacefully on March 2, 2023 at Palm Gardens Senior Living in Woodland where she received loving care through her extended struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to her illness, she was a 25-year resident of Davis.
Mary Jean was born to Delmar and Irene Cranmer on July 23,1930 in Sharon, PA where she was raised through her high school years before attending nursing school in Newcastle, PA. After becoming a registered nurse, she moved to Pittsburgh where she met Andrew Burke who would become her husband of 67 years and with whom she had three children – Dean, Patti and Tim. Together, they faced life’s joys and sorrows, including the crushing loss of their son Dean when he was a teenager. With a spirit of adventure, Mary Jean supported the family through numerous relocations on both the east and west coasts, allowing Andy to pursue his vocational interests. Later, once the children were grown, she thoroughly enjoyed her role as Andy’s travel companion to professional meetings all over the world.
Mary Jean’s great capacities for empathy and compassion were evident in her approach to life and her various roles as a wife, mother, nurse and community member. While Andy was a graduate student at Princeton University, she helped found the Princeton Visiting Nurses Program through which she excelled at providing care to new mothers and others who could benefit from in-home care and guidance. Later, as a nursing supervisor at an eldercare facility, she was instrumental in creating community amongst both staff and residents. Mary Jean was an avid volunteer at schools and organizations in which her children were involved, as well as the many communities of which she was a part over the course of her life. In Davis, her favorite volunteer roles were through Davis United Methodist Church and the Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee (STEAC) where she worked diligently on collection and distribution of furniture to needy families settling into new housing.
Mary Jean is survived by her husband, Andy, and her children, Patti and Tim. She will also live in the memories of her five grandchildren, Kaelen, Zeb, Celeste, Calista and Hayden, and her great granddaughter, Lucena. A celebration of Mary Jean’s life is planned for Saturday, May 6th at 11 am at Davis United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mary Jean’s memory can be made to Alzheimer’s Disease Research, 22512 Gateway Center Drive, Clarksburg, MD 20871.