Kathleen J. Burke, homemaker who enjoyed playing cards, dies

Kathleen J. Burke, a homemaker who enjoyed playing cards, died in her sleep July 23 at Gilchrist Center in Towson. The former longtime Columbia resident was 79.


The former Kathleen Joan Brown, daughter of John Brown, a business owner, and Lucille Brown, a homemaker, was born and raised in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where she graduated from Lebanon High School.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Russell Sage College in Albany, New York, and while at college, met and fell in love with Bruce Burke, an engineer, whom she married in 1965.


Family members said Mrs. Burke had “a tough New England brusque exterior with a secretly soft heart.”

The former longtime Columbia resident who had lived in Ellicott City for the past decade was an avid bridge and cribbage player and hockey fan. Other interests included travel, gardening, visiting the ocean and gathering with her family. She was also something of a “food aficionado,” said a son, Kerry Burke of Providence, Rhode Island.

Her husband died in 2005.

Services are private.

In addition to her son she is survived by two other sons, Sean Burke of Woodstock and Ryan Burke of Glen Arm; three brothers, Matthew Brown of Lebanon, New Hampshire, Brian Burke of Lee, New Hampshire, and Richard Rauner of Allentown, Pennsylvania; a sister, Susan Campbell of Ashland, North Carolina; and four grandchildren.