Floral 24

Patricia A. (Seery) Burke

May 26, 2022


Patricia A.  “Patty” (Seery) Burke, of Needham, passed away on Thursday, May 26, 2022. She was 89 years old. Leonard F. “Lenny” Burke of Needham, passed away on Thursday, February 24, 2022. He was 88 years old. She was the beloved wife for 69 years to her loving husband, Leonard F. “Lenny” Burke. She was the dear mother of Leonard L. Burke and his wife Kyung-Mee K. Burke and the late Patricia A. Mains. She was the dear grandmother of Joshua Mains, Hillary Marchand, Vanessa Burke and Alexander Burke and the great grandmother of Lucas Mains, Tyler and Dylan Marchand and Robin Burke. Sister of Mary Comanzo and the late Maureen Igo and John Seery.

In her days as a young girl, Patricia was physically active and athletic. She was also a bit of a dare devil, which on first impressions of her, you would never have guessed. On a few occasions Patricia told a story about how, on a dare, she stepped onto a thin ledge that ran several feet below the top of Echo bridge. The others didn't think she could cross, because of the height and the obvious danger. But Patty's mind was made up as soon as her feet felt the stone beneath them. She would not turn back, as much for herself as for them. So, staying focused to where she had to go, and with each determined and sure footstep, one after the other, she made it to the other side.  

Unfortunately for the vibrant, active young woman, polio crossed her path in her teenage years. It robbed her of the use of her limbs and stole her ability to even breathe on her own, landing her in an iron lung for months on end. Her condition even deteriorated to the point where she was read her last rights. But Patty was a fighter. Eventually she regained the use of her limbs and broke free the iron lung, that from that point on in her life, always haunted her. Still the disease was never really done with her. Doctors gave a prognosis that didn't give her much of a chance of living past her 40s. 

Shortly after this ordeal, Patricia met Lenny while babysitting her niece, Kathy. It was an accidental meeting arranged by her sister Maureen and her landlord. Patty described when she opened the door there was this guy, looking very athletic like Johnny Weissmuller. She was sure he lifted weights. What she didn't know at that moment was that Lenny was wearing a back brace because he was recovering from a broken back. So, the girl recovering from polio began a courtship with her Tarzan in a back brace. They married and from that moment on, were inseparable for the rest of their lives.

Patricia loved her two sisters, Mary, Maureen and brother John. The memories of her times down in Brant Rock with them always brought a warm little twinkle to her eye. Family was where she found strength and joy. Her children, grandchildren, sisters and brother, cousins, nieces, nephews, neighbors and amazing friends at the Needham Senior Center,  always had a place in her heart.

She loved the sound a violin makes, Irish music, collecting antiques for her home, a good book, cooking magnificent meals for guests, and so many other small joys of just being alive. And then there was ice cream, boy... did she ever love ice cream. There never was a day in her life where there wasn't a pint or gallon of ice cream in her freezer. 

In her final months the conditions of post-polio were becoming too heavy even for Patricia. Still, she carried it all with quiet grace. She lost the love of her life, Lenny and her daughter Patty, just months before her own passing. Still, she found a way through the crushing sadness to see the joy in the full and wonderful life she had with them. Patty also saw the promising light of the birth of a new great granddaughter, Robin, between those two tragedies. Almost in a wink and a nod from above, Robin came into this world on Patricia's birthday.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Joseph Church, 1360 Highland Ave, Needham, on Saturday, June 11th at 10:00am. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Interment will follow at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Needham.  In lieu of flowers, donations in Patty’s name may be made to the Needham Council on Aging (for the Center at the Heights), 300 Hillside Avenue, Needham MA 02494.


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Mass of Christian Burial
June 11, 2022

10:00 AM
St. Joseph Church 1360 Highland Ave, Needham

June 11, 2022

11:15 AM
St. Mary's Cemetery
1 Wellesley Ave
Needham, MA 02494

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