Elinore “Ellie” Burke
Elinore Geare Burke, 83, born in Phoenix in 1925, died in Phoenix on January 28, several days after a stroke. She was the daughter of Jim and Ina Geare, and little sister to Dorothy Geare Del Rae and Jimmy Geare, all now passed. The sprawling Geare family owned and operated the Central Avenue Dairy, whose horse-drawn delivery wagons were part of the morning ritual in nearly every Phoenix neighborhood. The dairy was located north of the city limits in a rural area that now is the site of Park Central Mall and St. Joseph’s Hospital. Pastures extended
from Central and Thomas to Indian School Road and 15th Avenue. As a student attending St. Mary’s High School, Ellie took the Third Street trolley to downtown. Her sweetheart was Bud Burke, who worked at his family’s drug store, Beverly Burke Pharmacy, across from St. Mary’s. In 1944, as Bud was
heading off to the Pacific Theater of World War II, they were married in Phoenix’s Brophy Chapel. The earthly portion of their union would survive the 64 years and 10 months until her passing, which happened with Bud still at her side. As a young mother, Ellie was active in the community, volunteering at the Golden Gate Settlement House and other organizations. She served as president of the Brophy Prep Mother’s Guild and as chairwoman of the Phoenix Junior League’s annual charity sale. She volunteered for the Arizona Historical Society, conducting their oral histories of Arizona pioneers. She was an active member of the Valley Field Riding and Polo Club, the Phoenix Country Club, the women’s auxiliary of
Rotary 100 and other organizations. Her crisp, sometimes almost royal appearance –or so her children thought– and her kindliness set a standard among the many families of her acquaintance. Friend John Haldiman called her “Saint Ellie.” She entertained Bud’s interesting friends in their Phoenix home, including Ty Cobb, Margaret Whiting and many others. She was curious and adventurous of spirit, and rang the opening bell one morning at the New York Stock Exchange. She was a constant source of encouragement to her husband, to her two children, and to everyone. She introduced her children to literature and music by making reading a part of her family’s life and by taking them to concerts downtown whenever visiting musicians, from jazz to classical, came to the Phoenix Union Auditorium. She is survived by her husband, Bud, by their daughter, Kathleen Butler and by Kathleen’s children, Beverly Damore and husband Dave, Stephen Butler and wife Dana and their children Cody and Ella. She is survived also by their son, Dennis M. Burke and his wife Maureen West, and by grandchildren Austin and Lauren Burke and their partners, Elanna Cahn and Jay Driskell. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance 2831 N. 31st Ave, Phx 85009 in Ellie’s name. She would be the first to remind us that these are difficult times for many families, and we all must open our hearts. Shortly after their wedding, Ellie borrowed a car and drove across the deserts of New Mexico and Texas to be with Bud at an Army camp before he was shipped out. She was never away from his side if she could possibly help it. A memorial service will be held at Brophy Chapel, 4701 N. Central, this Monday, February 2nd, at 4 p.m.