Celebrate Life & Honor Every Memory
Ellen O'Donnell Burke
September 20, 1951 - May 27, 2022
Obituary For Ellen O'Donnell Burke
Ellen (O’Donnell) Burke, 70, of Peabody, formerly of Salem died Friday evening following a brief illness. She was the devoted wife and best friend of the late John “Jocko” Burke.
Born in Salem, she was the daughter of the late Charles and Dorothy (Manning) O’Donnell. Ellen was very proud of her Gallows Hill roots and graduated from St. James High School in 1969, president of her senior class. She continued her education and received her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Salem State College and a master’s degree in Education from Framingham State.
Her teaching career began at the Children’s Center at Endicott College followed by Passos Avante Preschool in Peabody and 20 years as a first-grade teacher at the Center School in Peabody. Ellen, The Penguin Teacher, treasured the years with “her children” and shared stories about them quite often.
Ellen loved her Irish heritage and fulfilled a lifelong dream of traveling to Ireland with her husband Jocko. She made Aruba her home away from home after her retirement and loved her time spent there with friends, especially in the casino. She was a Degree Member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, past president of the Ladies AOH, Division 11, Peabody and a member of the Peabody Elks and the IACC.
She was proudest of the role of mom to her son, Matthew, and loved him beyond measure. They had a special bond and shared the same sense of humor.
Ellen had countless friends and she treasured her time with all of them. She made them laugh and always celebrated the important milestones in their lives with genuine enthusiasm. She also had a strong relationship with her great nieces and nephews along with her friend’s children and grandchildren, who all adored her.
Ellen was an inspiration to her family and friends as she demonstrated courage and determination throughout her many medical challenges, and all the while making those around her laugh with her infamous sense of humor. A special thanks to her friends and family for their support and the staff at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, especially Dr. Ken Anderson, Dr. Bruce Johnson, and Dr Leah Biller.
In addition to her son, Sgt. Matthew C. White, USMC (ret) and his partner Julie and her children, Kassandra, Capri, Astro, Cairo, and Caira, she leaves her brother and sister-in-law, Charles and Kathleen O’Donnell and their children, Christine, Julie and Patrick, her brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, Walter “Ed” and Linda Burke, Nelson and Joanne Burke, Jeannette Burke, and by many beloved nieces, nephews, cousins and friends and her “little sister” Corey McCullough.
Her funeral will be held on Thursday at 10:30 AM at St. Ann’s Church, Lynn St, Peabody to which relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday from 4:00 until 8:00 PM at the Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home, 82 Lynn St, Peabody. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Salem. Contributions may be made in her memory to the Thoracic Oncology Department at Dana Farber Cancer Center.
Matt and family so sorry for the loss of your mom jock and her were the best of friend to me.love you LN arkie. Mike Cassidy
May the blessing of light be upon you Ellen, RIP. Good memories shine out from the top of the Hill. My condolences to the whole family.
Charlie and family, I am so SO sorry to hear of your loss of Ellen. What a beautiful story of a remarkable human being 🙏🏼 Peace be with you... Those whom we have LOVED never really leave us. They live on forever in our HEARTS and cast their RADIANT LIGHT on our every shadow. — Sylvana Rossetti
Ellie you will be missed beyond words. You will always be one of my favorite people. We were so lucky to have you as a part of our family! Thank you for all the laughs xo I love you!
Rest in Peace Mrs. Burke. You were our daughters' favorite teacher ( Elizabeth and Maggie ). "May the road rise to meet you ....." 🇮🇪 Jamie and Gail Brennan.
Ellen you are an amazing person and friend rest in peace my friend
Heartfelt condolences to Ellens family. Semper fi to her son. Rest in power Ellen and raise a glass with the AOHers who left before you. You will be missed.
My St. James pal and always friend. A pleasure for sure. Memories forever and ever. RIP. You gave it one gallant fight. RIP Neil Chop Brennan
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