Sarah L. McGowan Burke

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April 10, 2014

Sarah L. McGowan Burke, 94, of New Philadelphia, passed away Thursday morning at the home of her granddaughter, Dr. Melissa Burke.

Born May 15, 1919, on the Furnace Hill, she was a daughter of the late Hugh and Anne Norris McGowan.

Sara was a lifelong active member of Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, New Philadelphia, now known as Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, helping with many church carnivals and activities throughout the years.

A graduate of Blythe Township High School, she worked in several business in downtown Pottsville, as well as her sister's catering business. She was a member of the Professional Business Women's Association and American Legion Women's Auxiliary.

Her life centered around taking care of her family and involving herself in their daily lives from Sunday dinners to Sunday trips to the Furnace. She was always supporting the family's interests and educational pursuits. "Gram," as she was affectionately known, was involved in everything her son, grandchildren and great-grandchildren did. Her house was never quiet, whether it was making her special noodles and Irish stew or a cup of tea for everyone from neighbors to her siblings to her grandchildren's friends.

She faced every challenge with grace and faith in God and the support of her large, loving extended family. She lived every day always showing her desire to stay young at heart. Whether it was learning how, with the help of her great-grandson, to Skype her niece in Malaysia or following NASCAR and the Seattle Seahawks, Gram was up for anything her family was interested in.

Sara enjoyed with her sisters "the ladies" bus trips to New York City, passing the time on their porches with everyone and EWTN daily Mass. They freely showed their pride in their Irish heritage.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Tony, in 2004; five sisters, Elizabeth Burke, Margaret Stutz, Catherine Toomey, Mary Lucy Rompalo and Gertrude Dauksis; and two brothers, James and Billy McGowan.

Sara was the last member of her immediate family.

Surviving are her son, Gerard "Jerry" Burke and his wife, Ellen; four grandchildren, Melissa Burke and her husband, Alan Minnig, Anthony J. "AJ" Burke, Sara E. Burke and Thomas H. Burke; two great-grandchildren, Billy and Saragrace Minnig; daughters-at-heart, Bridget Troutman and Dr. Anne Rompalo; granddaughter-at-heart, Sheila Amole; as well as nieces and nephews, close friends and caregivers who made her last few years of life so wonderful and dignified throughout its challenges.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Holy Cross Church, New Philadelphia, with the Rev. Ronald J. Minner as the celebrant. Friends may call from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday and 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at Thomas J. Bartashus Funeral Home, New Philadelphia. Interment will be in Schuylkill Memorial Park, Schuylkill Haven. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations by made to Holy Cross Church, 99 Valley St., New Philadelphia, PA 17959 or Schuylkill County Office of Senior Services Special Needs Fund, 110 E. Laurel Blvd., Pottsville, PA 17901.

Funeral Home
Bartashus Funeral Home
63 Kimber St
New Philadelphia, PA 17959
(570) 277-6941
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Published in Republican & Herald from Apr. 11 to Apr. 13, 2014
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