Helen Ruth "Christie" Burke, age 87, was born on the 29th of January 1927, in Dallas, and passed away peacefully at her home in Houston, surrounded by her family, on Wednesday, the 9th of July 2014. July 9th was a special date to her, because it was the birthdate of her beloved grandmother, Missa Overton Christie Thompson.|
Christie was a very active, adventurous, curious, intelligent, and cheery person with a wonderful smile! Her many friends have commented on her living life to the fullest and always having a good time - appreciating each observation and acquaintance!
Helen "Christie" Burke received her Bachelor of Science in Education and her Masters of Science in Education from the University of Houston. However, she was especially proud of being a TCU alumnus - a true Horned Frog!
Helen "Christie" Burke was a teacher and counselor for the Houston Independent School District for 30+ years. She taught history at Fondren Middle School, a Middle School Counselor at Jane Long, Sharpstown and Lanier Middle Schools, and a High School Counselor at Lamar and Milby High Schools. Somehow she worked in time to become a licensed insurance representative, too.
In 1972 she received her Student Pilot's Certificate saying "you never know when it will come in handy."
When she was in her 40's she traveled to Austria to learn how to snow ski. Because of her love to ski, she decided to take her grandsons, Burke and Patrick, when they were in elementary school, to Colorado so they could learn how to ski. Christie retired from the sport on her 80th birthday. Sailing was on the horizon - her next adventure!
She so enjoyed traveling - traveling extensively around the world to many exotic places, having been on every continent except one, Antarctica! Christie took her daughter, Suzanne, on a couple of those exotic trips - one trip was a cruise through the Bosporus Straits to see where "East met West" and the other was to Japan and China. Christie took her son, Glenn, on an African safari to Mala Mala - she was visiting Glenn where he lived at the time, Cape Town, South Africa.
She traveled all 50 states; and the family believes she visited every single one of the Presidential Libraries in the United States.
This past January she celebrated her 87th birthday in Germany where she was thrilled to be writing and/or speaking German, a language she had been learning by going to night class weekly for the past 5 years - being a member of the German Club was very special to her.
She was most proud of her family, affectionately being called "Madre Christie." Being a historian she was interested in her family roots; and she was delighted to be able to trace her family roots back to the mid-1500's.
She was an active member of American Personnel and Guidance Association, Texas Counseling Association, Houston Counseling Association of Retired Teachers, Texas Retired Teacher Association, Past President of Delphian Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and in the process of becoming a member of the National Society United States Daughters of 1812, Past President of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International - Gamma Chapter #003, Junior League of Houston, Women's Institute of Houston, Space City Ski Club (SCSC), Texas Association of Single Sailors (TASS), Texas Ski Club, The Harris County Chapter of the Texas German Society, a couple of investment clubs, NAIC Houston Area Chapter, and St. John Episcopal Church. As an avid reader she was a member of several books clubs most recently En Amie and the Houston Public Library's Mystery Book Club. She also volunteered at many organizations - the family remembers one of the first places she volunteered - as a Candy Striper at the Old Herman Hospital in Houston.
Helen "Christie" Burke is predeceased in death by her grandmother, Missa Overton Christie Thompson; her mother, Ruth Harris Christie; her father, William Preston Christie; and Jack R. Burke. She is survived by her daughter, Suzanne Burke Kennedy and her husband Mike of Austin; her son, Glenn R. Burke of Houston; her grandsons, Burke Kennedy and his wife Erica and Patrick Kennedy, all of Austin; her granddaughters, Christina d'Orthez-Burke of Chicago, Illinois and Marina d'Orthez-Burke of Los Angeles, California; her nieces, Lynda Christie Brown of Houston, Melissa Christie Loerch and her husband Michael of Georgetown, Texas; her nephew, William Preston Christie III of San Antonio; and her brother, William Preston Christie, Jr. of Houston. She is also survived by her many, many friends from all stages of her life (even back to the 1st Grade - "Big O")!
The family wishes to express their gratitude to Dr. Michelina Cairo of Texas Oncology, Houston Hospice, and The Plaza at Buckingham - especially the nursing staff and Erin Gonzalez, Rehab Director, who recognized Christie's love of the water and made it possible for Christie to continue to be in the water doing her water aerobics.
Prior to her death Christie was planning to set sail with her sailing friends on two trips where they would crew the catamarans themselves - one trip was scheduled for this past month, June, to the British Virgin Islands and the other trip is scheduled for August to San Francisco.
The funeral service is to be conducted at three o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday, the 2nd of August, in the Jasek Chapel of Geo. H. Lewis & Sons, 1010 Bering Drive, where Fr. Frank Amico is to officiate.
Immediately following the service, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Grand Foyer.
In lieu of customary remembrances, the family requests with gratitude that memorial contributions in her name be directed to Fr. Frank Amico, c/o Basilian Fathers Missions, P.O. Box 708, Sugar Land, TX, 77487-0708.
Published in Houston Chronicle on July 17, 2014