Attended by a few close friends and relatives, Mary Jane Burke died peacefully at home early Monday, March 4th having lost a yearlong battle with pancreatic cancer. She lived a long, meaningful life of service, first as a devout Catholic, then as a nun, a nurse, and an educator. Living most of her 80 years in Pittsfield in the house built by her parents, she strove to make the Berkshires a better place.
In 1965, Mary Jane completed her initial education at Boston College earning a B.S. in nursing. Before and after earning her master’s degree of Nursing at Russel Sage College in 1972, she worked at various hospitals including Providence Hospital in Holyoke, St. Luke’s in Pittsfield, and Saint David’s Hospital in Austin, Texas. Primarily focused on maternity care, she was affiliated with numerous nursing, educational, alumni and Catholic associations.
In the 1970’s Mary Jane began teaching at Berkshire Community College. Midway through her teaching career, she completed her graduate studies in 1988, earning her PhD in Educational Administration from the University of Texas, Austin. Afterwards until her retirement in 2005 she returned as a professor of maternity nursing at the Berkshire Community College.
Mary Jane is survived by her sister, Barbara Ann Richardson, of Bremerton, Washington and Barbara’s five children, Susan Elliot, Scott and Shawn Richardson, Lisa Salts and Julie Matheson, as well as Barbara’s nine grandsons. She was predeceased by her parents, Myles and Evelyn Burke.
SERVICES: Friends are invited to join with the family Saturday, March 30th at St. Mark’s Church in Pittsfield beginning at 8:15am with a Liturgy of Christian Burial beginning at 9am with Rev. Christopher Fedoryshyn, administrator, officiating. Committal will follow in the family lot at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Email RSVP’s for luncheon to Julie Matheson firstname.lastname@example.org
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, in care of the Devanny-Condron Funeral Home, 40 Maplewood Ave. Pittsfield, MA 01201.