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Marie Constance De Lille Burke
Birth: Sep. 4, 1928
Los Angeles
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Death: May 2, 2010
Tigard
Washington County
Oregon, USA

Marie Constance De Lille was born in Methodist Hospital in Los Angeles, California on Sept. 4, 1928. Her father, Enrique "Henry" De Lille was from a distinguished family who fled Mexico for the United States during the Revolution there. Her mother, Elise Marie Day, descended from pioneers of eastern Washington and Oregon. Marie's great-great uncle, Jesse Newberry Day, founded the town of Dayton, Washington, and her great-uncle, William Ballard Day, fought for the Third Minnesota Infantry during the Civil War.

Marie's father worked as a pharmacist, and he was managing the Owl Pharmacy in downtown Los Angeles when he met Elise "Elsie" Day, who was working there as a clerk. They were married at St. Martha's Parish in Huntington Park on Feb. 18, 1924. Marie's older sister, Marjorie Antoinette, was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 9, 1924.

Marie was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church at St. Agatha Parish on Nov. 18, 1928. She received her First Communion at St. Cecilia's on May 12, 1935, and she was confirmed there by Archbishop John J. Cantwell on Feb. 2, 1941. Marie graduated from St. Cecilia's Elementary School on June 17, 1942. She went on to attend Bishop Conaty High School, Manual Arts High School, and George Washington High School.

Marie was first employed as a clerk at her uncle Leo Vining's dry cleaning business. She went on to be a gift wrap girl at Bullock's Department Store on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, and worked for a few years at Woolworth's while she was in high school.

In December, 1946, Marie met the love of her life, Richard Don Burke, on a blind date arranged by a mutual friend, Millie White. Marie was to be paired up with a boy named Tony, and Richard was to go with a girl named Ethel. However, after taking one look at Marie, Richard said she was to go with him. At first, she was reluctant, saying she could not do that to her friend, Ethel. When Ethel graciously said she did not mind, Marie and Richard went off to Ocean Park in Los Angeles together. He loved her bright personality and beautiful smile, she loved his charm and movie-star good looks. Theirs was a whirlwind courtship, spent going to beach parties, movies, drive-ins and concerts. Marie recalled seeing the singer Doris Day when she was first getting her start in show business. Marie remarked, "That girl was just covered with freckles, but could she ever sing!" The young couple also talked on the telephone every night.

Deeply in love, not having much money, and because Richard was still serving in the Merchant Marines, Richard and Marie decided to marry in Las Vegas. Taking along Richard's step-mother, Robbie Jennings Borowski, and his uncle, Malcolm Isaac, as witnesses, they were married before a Justice of the Peace on March 1, 1947. Before marrying, Marie's conscience got the better of her and she insisted they stop at a Catholic church to find a priest to marry them. The priest they talked to simply laughed at them and shut the door in their faces. Later, Richard and Marie were married in the rectory of Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Los Angeles on July 3, 1947.

Following their marriage, Richard and Marie made their home in Los Angeles. Richard worked as a telephone lineman for AT&T, and Marie worked as a switchboard operator for an answering service. On March 13, 1952, they purchased their first home on Levelside Avenue in the new suburb of Lakewood. There, they were like many young families in the post-war years, raising their children, becoming involved in their community, and making lifelong friends. Richard and Marie were founding members of St. Pancratius Parish, where Marie was active in the school and with the Altar Guild. She worked for an answering service in Compton until 1956, when she became a full-time homemaker. Because she felt very strongly about the value of a Catholic education for her children, she took in neighbors' ironing to earn extra money for tuition. The growing family moved to a larger home on Wolfe Street in the spring of 1961.

Marie lived in Southern California during an unprecedented time. Along with her husband and two of her young children, she was part of the grand opening of Disneyland in 1955. Marie attended the first game the Dodgers played in Los Angeles in 1958, the very first game at Dodger Stadium, and she was in the stands for Sandy Koufax's perfect game in 1965. Years later she remarked how the entire city was abuzz with excitement whenever Koufax was slated to take the mound.

In 1966, Richard accepted a transfer with his company and the family moved to Tigard, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. Marie worked the evening shift as a PBX operator for technology company Tektronix in Beaverton. She became active with St. Anthony's Parish, volunteering for various fund raisers, and serving as room mother at her childrens' schools and as Den Mother for her sons' Cub Scout troops.

In 1985, Richard again accepted another transfer with his company, and the family moved to Anchorage, Alaska. There, Marie worked for the accounts payable department for the Anchorage Telephone Utility, retiring in 1987. The family returned to Tigard following Richard's retirement in 1990.

Perhaps because she grew up in the Entertainment Capital of the World, Marie very much enjoyed watching movies. Her favorite stars of her generation were the Irish singer Dennis Morgan and the pretty blonde Priscilla Lane. Marie had a beautiful singing voice, and she loved all kinds of music, but she was especially fond of Nat "King" Cole and Perry Como. She had a wonderful sense of humor, and her laugh was a treasure. Marie was an avid reader whose taste was diverse. She devoured celebrity biographies, Ellery Queen mysteries, and the works of Taylor Caldwell and Flannery O'Connor, to name just a few. Marie loved to play Solitaire, and she also enjoyed crossword puzzles, doing the Jumble word game every morning, and reading the Daily Oregonian from cover to cover. She watched Daily Mass faithfully on the Eternal Word Television Network, and she was a huge fan of all types of game shows, most recently, "Dancing With the Stars". When her health permitted, Marie traveled often with her husband in their recreational vehicle.

Marie suffered from diabetes, and had undergone kidney dialysis since September, 2001. Through every trial, her Catholic faith remained strong. Marie's mother, who had also been exceptionally devout, passed this down to her. Marie was always concerned with the well-being of those around her, and she touched the lives of many with her courage, grace, and compassion. Marie's husband was her tireless and devoted caregiver in her final years, and he was ably assisted by two of their children in particular, Kathleen and Robert. Her health gradually failed, and she passed away peacefully at her home on May 2, 2010 at the age of 81.

I concluded our mother's eulogy with this excerpt from an article we read together several years ago. I felt it was especially appropriate. "The perfect mother and the perfect father do not exist in this life, and I am glad for that. No child could stand them or get free from them. But the mother of whom you can say she loved you unconditionally, she gave you a sense of purpose in life, and she showed you what it means to live faithfully, to age courageously, and to die at peace with herself that is all the mother any child could hope for. That is the mother we had. Thank you, Mother, for being just who you were, and thanks be to God for her life."

Mom, you were a daily inspiration to all. There will never be another one like you. May your sweet soul rest in God's eternal peace.
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Enrique De Lille Aizpuru (1900 - 1969)
  Elise Marie Day De Lille (1895 - 1968)
 
 Children:
  Richard Michael Burke (1956 - 2007)*
 
 Siblings:
  Leila Arlene Oviatt Dispenza (1913 - 1993)**
  Jud Ballard Oviatt (1918 - 1967)**
  Stanley Stephen Oviatt (1919 - 1985)**
  Elise Marie De Lille (1923 - 1923)*
  Marjorie Antoinette De Lille Massaglia (1924 - 1977)*
  Marie Constance De Lille Burke (1928 - 2010)
 
*Calculated relationship
**Half-sibling
 
Inscription:
God bless our mother and wife. Rest in peace.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
 
Burial:
Mount Calvary Cemetery
Portland
Multnomah County
Oregon, USA
Plot: Section W, Lot 2855
 
Created by: James Burke
Record added: May 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 51896939
Marie Constance <i>De Lille</i> Burke
Added by: James Burke
 
Marie Constance <i>De Lille</i> Burke
Added by: James Burke
 
Marie Constance <i>De Lille</i> Burke
Added by: James Burke
 
 
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