SOMERVILLE, N.J. >> Ann Marie Bourke, 56, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew C. Bourke of Somerville, N.J., formerly of Oneida, passed away on Monday, Sept. 23 at Raritan Health and Extended Care Center after a brief illness.
Born in 1957 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., it was determined at birth that she had Down Syndrome. After spending her early childhood in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., she moved with her family to Scotia, N.Y., where she participated in the special education program there. She later moved with her family to Liverpool, N.Y., where she attended Devillo-Sloan school in Syracuse, which provided special instruction and training to students with developmental disabilities.
Ann Marie was a regular participant in the annual Special Olympics
program, where she frequently received awards for her swimming skills, specializing in the 25-yard backstroke and 25-yard freestyle. For several years she was selected to represent her county at the New York State Special Olympics, where she won a number of first place awards.
After graduating from Devillo-Sloan in 1977, she moved with her family to Oneida, N.Y. There she was employed by Alternatives Industry, the business division of Madison Cortland ARC, which trains and employs adults with disabilities. In 1979 she moved into a group home in Canastota, N.Y., operated by Madison Cortland ARC's Residential Services Program, where she lived until mid-2012. She also participated in Madison Cortland ARC's Community Habilitation Program, and for her last years there, Senior Program. In 2012 she required nursing home care, and was moved to Raritan Health and Extended Care Center in Raritan, N.J. to be close to her family.
Ann Marie greatly enjoyed music and singing. During her adult life she was an avid member of the Madison Cortland ARC's Sunshine Chorus, where she was often chosen to conduct several musical numbers in various concerts. She also liked bowling and artwork. What she enjoyed most of all, however, was the company of people. She was a joyful and loving person who always brought out the best in others, and was beloved by all who knew her.
She is survived by her parents, Andrew and Regina Bourke of Somerville, N.J., and two brothers, Andrew Jr. and wife Diane of New London, N.H., and James and his wife, Claudia, and their children Matthew and Catherine, of New York, N.Y.
Funeral services will be under the direction of Cusick Funeral Home, 80 Mountain Ave. in Somerville, N.J. Calling hours will be from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, and 8:45 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 30, prior to the 9:30 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial to be held at Immaculate Conception Church, also on Mountain Avenue. Internment will follow at St. Bernard's Cemetery on Route 28 in Bridgewater. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made in Ann Marie's memory to Madison Cortland ARC, 701 Lenox Ave., Oneida N.Y. 13421.