Helen Ward Burke, a longtime Rye resident, died peacefully in her home on December 19, 2016. She was 100.
A consummate and charming homemaker, she had the gift of engaging family and friends in the arts, politics, Airedales, and sports, notably, her adored Yankees. She also mastered the art of French cooking. “Les canards gave her kitchen wide birth, lest they end up suitably sauced,” noted her family.
She was born February 5, 1916, in Chicago, to Burt and Elizabeth (Birks) Ward of Madison, Wisconsin.
A Larchmont resident during her formative years, she became a champion swimmer and diver for Orienta Beach Club, setting records that were not bested for 30 years, and only then by her daughter Barbie.
Swimming also introduced her, through an archrival, to Tom Burke, whom she married after graduating from Smith College in 1939. Mr. Burke died in late 1997, just a year-and-a-half short of their 60th wedding anniversary.
An avid golfer and bridge player, Mrs. Burke enjoyed edging her husband in the former, and, in her later years, using bridge to keep up with her peers and young friends who formed Helen’s Bridge Club and sought her counsel in deciphering the newest conventions reported by The New York Times. She was also a devoted gardener, serving a two-year term as president of the Rye Garden Club.
Mrs. Burke is survived by her three children, Thomas W. Burke and Barbara B. Haynes both of Rye, and John B. Burke of White Plains; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Her grandson Ward Haynes died on September 11, 2001.
A memorial service was held at Christ’s Church, Rye on January 6.
Contributions in Mrs. Burke’s memory may be made to Christ’s Church, Rye, or Hospice of Westchester, 1025 Westchester Avenue, White Plains, NY 10604.