Obituary: Jerome Francis Burke, 76

Jerome Francis Burke, age 76, of Whitewater, WI, passed away unexpectedly following a brief illness on June 27, 2024.

Jerry was born in Evanston, IL on May 13, 1948 to Stephen and Catherine Burke. He grew up in Glenview, IL, where he graduated from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Grade School and then Loyola Academy (Wilmette). Those early days spawned treasured, lifelong friendships. He went on to graduate from St. Joseph’s College (IN) with a BA in Economics, and it was there that
he met his beloved wife, Eileen. They married shortly after graduation and were blessed to share their lives for 52 wonderful years. They especially enjoyed fishing, boating, hiking, golf, traveling and most outdoor activities.

Jerry was a longtime resident of Wauconda, IL, before retiring to Wisconsin. After a career in commercial roofing, Jerry continued to work on major projects at home, and often was the one that family and friends called when they needed help or advice. He was never bored. He was skilled and talented at most every aspect of construction, and restorations of any kind, and he
thoroughly enjoyed tinkering with motors, boats and cars. He was quite proud of finding rusty treasures that he could restore and bring back to life. But he was also very well-rounded and enjoyed music of most genres including jazz, classical, and rock, as well as visits to art galleries, museums, and botanical gardens (which greatly pleased Eileen!) He very much appreciated the talent of the artists.

But he most enjoyed family events with all the nieces and nephews and their children. Uncle Jerry was happiest when playing with the kids…- tubing, boating, teaching them how to fish, or hiking to the creek. He will be greatly missed by all.

Jerry was deeply compassionate about helping those in need. After retirement, Jerry found a rewarding volunteer opportunity with Catholic Charities in Lake Co. for 10 years in a special program that supported seniors to be able to live independently longer. He was also a longtime supporter of Special Olympics of Wisconsin in support of his two nephews, often cheering them on at their games. In addition, he supported NPH USA, an organization with orphanages and hospitals helping children and families in Latin America and Haiti. More recently he had joined the Lions Club of Whitewater, WI and had looked forward to being able to devote his energy toward important programs helping the blind and other local charities.

Jerry is survived by his beloved wife, Eileen (nee LaVoy); his devoted sisters: Maureen O’Donnell, Sharon (Larry) Salvatore, and Cheryl Power; his loving sisters and brothers-in-law: Carol Burke, Joyce (Frank) Wessels, Jan Salstrom, John Salstrom, Renee (John) Daly, and Ken (Michele) LaVoy; his caring father-in-law: James LaVoy; and his sixteen nieces and nephews; and thirteen great-nieces and nephews.

Jerry was preceded in death by his infant son, James Stephen; his infant brother Patrick; his sister, Colleen; his brother, Kevin; and his parents, Stephen and Catherine Burke.

Visitation will be on Tuesday July 9, 2024, from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Donnellan Family Funeral Home 10045 Skokie Blvd, Skokie IL. There will be a second brief visitation at the church at 9:30 a.m., Wednesday, July 10, 2024, followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 1775 Grove Street, Glenview, IL.

The service will be livestreamed; please go to Jerry’s obituary page at to view the Funeral Mass.

Interment will follow at All Saints Cemetery, 700 N. River Road, Des Plaines, IL 60016.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:
Special Olympics Wisconsin, 6582 Ronald Reagan Ave., Madison, WI 53704 – Specify donation
to Southern Lakes #7-15 –

NPH USA Midwest Region, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606

Lions Club of Whitewater, WI – PO BOX 246, Whitewater, WI, 53190

Catholic Charities of Lake County – P.O. Box 7154, Carol Stream, IL 60197-7154

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