Mary Grace Burke

Mary Grace Burke of Hinsdale died Feb. 9, 2024.

She was born in 1947 in Black River Falls, Wis., to Glen and Phyllis Gearing. Growing up on a dairy farm as the eldest of seven children, Mary Grace quickly learned how to take charge and get things done. She was happy to tackle any project and had no problem letting people know the right way to do it. She attended the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, graduating with a degree in education. One day while waitressing at the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point, she met a customer with whom her life would be intertwined for the next 56 years. After finally succumbing to his incessant flirtations, Mary Grace married Kevin Burke in June of 1970.

Shortly thereafter, the two left Wisconsin and moved to Illinois, eventually settling in Hinsdale. It wasn't long before Mary Grace suspended her career as an elementary school teacher to focus her efforts on raising their three children. She was an active member of many civic and charitable groups and found great satisfaction in leading efforts to fundraise for organizations including The Community House, St. Ignatius College Prep and various gardening clubs. Her charitable mindset led her to become a founding member of Wellness House, an organization focused on supporting people with cancer.

Mary Grace was very sociable and always loved a good party. As much as she loved hosting parties, she also loved attending them - especially if there was good music. Known to shake a leg late into the night, her dance moves were legendary and, though many tried, few could keep up with her on the dance floor.

She lived life to the fullest and always welcomed the next adventure. She spent much of her time traveling and exploring the world and visited countries throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. As much as she loved visiting such places as Norway, Machu Picchu and Easter Island, she found particular joy spending time at her home in Telluride, Colo. An accomplished skier, she was often seen flying down the runs in Telluride and even Heli Skiing in Canada.

Beyond her prowess in winter sports, she had a knack for collecting. Over the years she amassed an impressive collection of antiques, shoes, wine, and most importantly friends. She touched many lives and will be missed by all.

She is survived by her husband, Kevin Burke; her children, Erin (John) Burke Harris, Ryan (Rosanna Gabriele) Burke and Nolan (Georgia) Burke; her 10 grandchildren, Jane and Kate Harris, Miles, Felix, Evelyn and Violet Gabriele-Burke and Ian, Declan, Liam and Rory Burke; and her six siblings, Tom Gearing, Lauri Severson, Rod Gearing, LuAnn Morrison, Dan Gearing and Glenda Gearing.

Visitation will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at St. Isaac Jogues Catholic Church, 306 W. Fourth St. Hinsdale.

A funeral Mass will follow at the church at 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wellness House, 131 N. County Line Rd, Hinsdale, IL 60521.

Brian Powell Funeral Directors of Hinsdale handled the arrangements.