Barbara E. (Hilliard) Burke, 91, a longtime Upton resident, passed away peacefully on Friday, July 17, 2020, at the Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, ME. She was the beloved wife of the late Russell W. Burke, who died in 2002.
Born in Milford, she was a daughter of the late Harry and Maude (Bates) Hilliard. She was raised and educated in Upton and was a graduate of the Grafton High School Class of 1947. In 1980, she then obtained a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst in education/ library science.
Prior to retirement, Mrs. Burke was employed as a librarian for the Mendon–Upton Regional School District.
Barbara was a Eucharistic Minister at the former Holy Angels Parish for many years. She also served as chairman for the Holy Angels Bishop Fund as well as serving as the Elementary Religious Education Coordinator.
Mrs. Burke held various offices, such as the Central Mass Beagle Club, Chairman of the Board of Library Trustees for the Upton Town Library, served on the Upton Historical Society since 1975 and Chairman since 1980, the Upton Heritage Homecoming Committee from 1985 to 1994, was elected to the Heritage Hall of Honor in 1999 as a living outstanding Citizen, and had been an Elections Official since 1973.
Barbara is survived by her two sons, Francis J. Burke of Millville, and James M. Burke of Lagrange, ME; three grandchildren, Jennifer Eaton-Burke, Shawn Burke, and Jamie Burke; a great-grandchild, Isaac Keef; and many nieces and nephews.
She is predeceased by her daughter, Elaine M. Burke, and her siblings, Theodore Hilliard, Richard Hilliard, Edith Shaughnessy, and Elberta “Ruth” Kearnan.
Her funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 A.M. on Thursday, July 23, in St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish, 151 Mendon Street, Upton. (Facial coverings and social distancing are required) Burial will follow in Lakeview Cemetery.
Calling hours are Wednesday, from 4 to 7 P.M. in the Pickering & Son Upton Funeral Home, Inc. 45 Main Street, Upton. (Facial coverings and social distancing are required)
In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be sent to the Upton Fire & EMS Association Ambulance Fund, P.O. Box 29, Upton, MA 01568 or to the Upton Bloomer Girls, P.O. Box 121, Upton, MA 01568.
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