Patricia Burke Phelps (1926 - 2016)

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  • "Such an elegant lady. Aiken has lost another gem."
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Patricia Burke Phelps
Patricia Burke Phelps, 89, died peacefully on April, 8 2016 at the Sussman House in Rockport, Maine.
Born in Dayton, Ohio on October 25, 1926 to Ruth Miller & John Logan Burke, she was the oldest of four siblings, (Ruth Burke Hodges, John Logan Burke, Jr. & Mary Burke Engstrom). Ruth & Logan predeceased her. Patty attended schools in the Oakwood neighborhood of Dayton, Hillsdale School in Cincinnati and went on to study Liberal Arts at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. After college she and her sister Ruth shared an apartment in NYC, working and having fun in "the big city". It was during this time Patty met her future husband Irving or "Mike" as he was affectionately know to his closest friends, at the iconic P.J. Clarke's tavern on the East Side of the city. While Mike worked for the Mead Paper Corporation they continued their courtship until eventual marriage on February 2, 1952 in Dayton. After the wedding they moved to Washington, D.C. where Mike got his training with the C.I.A. and was assigned to a post in The Hague, Netherlands. While stationed in Holland their daughter, Patricia (Patty) was born.
Patty & Mike settled in Beverly, Mass. where their son John Jay was born. Mike returned to the paper industry working for Great Northern Paper and Kruger Paper and Pulp. Patty & Mike spent many happy years in Beverly, raising their family and having merry times with their many friends. Patty was active in sports, loved to garden, supported her husband's work life and maintained an elegant, welcoming home. She pursued her creative interests in painting, re-finishing furniture and co-owned a needlepoint business where she shared her teaching expertise.
Patty and Mike retired to Aiken, S.C. in the early 1990's. Mike's death on April 4th, 1999 did not slow her down in continuing a full and meaningful life traveling with friends and staying involved with many civic and cultural institutions in and out of Boston, Aiken and eventually Camden, ME. As Patty aged her interest in literacy and education grew and she was a true believer in supporting the Public Library system and all that it offered to all ages. She has passed on the spirit of volunteerism to her children.
She is survived by her children, Patricia Eddy and husband Robert of Camden, John Jay Phelps and Life partner Karen Gronberg of Scarborough, ME. Patty leaves behind four grandchildren and one great-grandchild, all whom she loved dearly.
Per her wishes, a private family gathering will be held in Simsbury, Ct. where her ashes will be interred at the Phelps Family Mausoleum next to her husband, Irving Paris Phelps.
In lieu of flowers, friends may contribute in her name to Bay Chamber Concerts in Rockport, Maine, The Rockport Public Library, The Hitchcock Woods Foundation in Aiken, S.C. and the Aiken County Library.
Published in The Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star from Apr. 16 to Apr. 24, 2016