Helen Marie Burke (nee Wheaton)
March 16,1923 – Feb. 16, 2014
Helen Marie Burke (nee Wheaton), born on March 16,1923, in Barberton, Ohio, died on February 16, 2014, in Oshkosh, 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 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 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 grew up on a farm in Charlestown, Ohio, and 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, Fla., 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, then to York, Pa., in 1970 and Summit, N.J., 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. In Oconomowoc, she was a member of the Women’s Club and a member of Good Shepherd Methodist Church.
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.
The family would like to thank the staff at Club Gabriel, part of St. Paul’s Elder Services in Kaukauna, and the Affinity Visiting Nurses Hospice for their kind and compassionate care.
Funeral services for Helen will be Saturday, Feb. 22, at 11 am at Fiss and Bills Funeral Home in Oshkosh, and visitation will be from 10 am until the time of services. Her final resting place will be at Wisconsin Memorial Park in Brookfield.
Fiss and Bills Poklasny Funeral Home, 865 S. Westhaven Drive, Oshkosh, is serving the family. For more information, call 920-235-1170 or visit online at www.fissbillspoklasny.com.