Helen Marie Burke (nee Wheaton), born on March 16, 1923, in Barberton, Ohio died on February 16, 2014 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the age of 90 with her daughters at her side. She was the daughter of Samuel and Gladys (Phile) Wheaton and the sister of Gerald, Hilda, Rosemary, Sam and Wayne. The only surviving sibling is her sister, Rosemary (Charles) Bradfield, in Mansfield Ohio. She was the beloved wife of Leonard C. Burke, who died in 1984 and the mother of Maureen Burke, Linda Youngquist (Jim), Thomas (Adele), who died in 2012 and Timothy, who died in 1998. She is survived by many nieces and nephews out-of-state and by many lifelong friends.
Helen and her husband, Leonard, grew up in Ravenna, Portage County, Ohio where they met, married and raised four children before moving to Wisconsin in 1958. Helen and her sister Hilda were both born in Barberton, Ohio where their father was employed by the O.C. Barber Farm in Barberton, Ohio. Shortly after Helen's birth the family moved to the Phile family farm in Charlestown, Ohio. Helen's great grandfather Jacob Phile, son of Peter Pfeil of Edinburg, purchased the farm in 1860 which was then taken over by Helen's grandfather Wallace Phile who died in 1924. Helen's parents moved into the farm at that time, cared for Helen's grandmother Isabelle (Packer) Phile, raised their family and farmed until their deaths.
If ever the song, "How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" applied to anyone it would apply to Helen, because she loved city life and she did get to Paris in 1996. Helen loved to travel and wintered in Sarasota, Florida from 1989 to 2003. She moved many times with her husband and family for company moves. They moved from Ravenna, Ohio in 1958 to Shorewood, Wisconsin then to York, Pennsylvania in 1970 and Summit, New Jersey in 1974 before coming back to Wisconsin and settling in Oconomowoc for 18 years in 1978. In 1996 she moved to Milwaukee's Eastside with her daughter Maureen.
Helen was a SPAR (SEMPER PARATUS, Always Ready) in the U. S. Coast Guard in WWII, stationed in Sandwich on Cape Cod. Her husband, Leonard, and her brother, Gerald, and sister, Hilda, also served in WWII. Gerald was killed at the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. Helen was a longtime member of the Becky Badger WAVES Unit #39 in Milwaukee, but was welcomed as a member of the Fox Valley WAVES Unit #153 in Appleton after moving to the Fox Cities area in 2010 with her daughter to be closer to other family members because of health reasons. She was a charter member of the Women's Memorial in Washington, D.C. and a 26-year member of the American Legion Alonzo Cudworth Post #23 in Milwaukee.
Helen had a beautiful, warm smile, made friends wherever she lived, was a great letter writer, loved clipping newspaper articles to send to friends and was accomplished in the art of tatting. She loved music, particularly hymns and big band music.
A memorial service will be held at Fiss and Bills Funeral Home in Oshkosh and her final resting place will be Wisconsin Memorial Park in Brookfield, Wisconsin alongside her beloved husband Leonard C Burke and her son Timothy.
(Fiss and Bills Poklasny Funeral Home, 920-235-1170. RC 2-19-14)