Rena L. Burke went home to the lord on Friday May 22, 2020 with her family by her side in her home in New Gloucester, ME, after a long battle with kidney disease. She was born in Burlington, Vermont on February 24, 1926 to Marcus Sr. and Laura (Greenough) Medlar.
On October 17, 1947 she married H. Douglas Burke. They lived in Barre, Vermont until settling in Burlington, Vt. In 1978 they sold their home and moved to Essex Ctr. where she resided until 2009, when she moved to be with her daughter Nancy and son in law Frank, in Portland Maine, in 2014 the family home was lost to a fire and they moved to New Gloucester, where she lived until her death.
During her years in Maine she spent many hours with her great grandchildren when they visited from Vermont and with the family that lived here in Maine. Rena got to travel with her daughter a few times a year, they made trips back to Vermont to visit family. We also traveled to Florida to visit her brother and his family and her son and his family. There were also trips to Texas and a side trip to Oklahoma while visiting granddaughter Dee and her family. To the outer Banks of North Carolina for Dee and Steve's wedding. A few trips to Foxwood, to gamble and see a concert as well Maine's two casinos. Summers usually meant that her granddaughters came from Vermont and Texas to visit and we spent those times visiting spots in Maine. She developed very strong bonds with the great grandchildren from Vermont and the ones here in Maine. Belle was a frequent overnight guest with her Gaga as she so affectionately dubbed her when she was learning to talk, having spent most of her first year living with us in Portland with her mom. Gaga and Belle BFF's, she was also a frequent travel companion for her Gaga. A beautiful relationship of a child and her great grandmother, the other grandkids followed suit and took Belle's lead and also called mom Gaga Her only regret was not being able to travel to meet all of her great grandchildren but thanks to Facebook she was able to see pictures of them. We made sure to let her know when knew ones were posted we would read to her of their exploits in toddlerism, and as they grew to tweens and teens.
Mom enjoyed going out to dinner at least once a week and for her birthday week we went out most every day so that she could have seafood, this year we had a family dinner at home and she greatly enjoyed that. Friends and local family usually gathered to help her celebrate another year. Many of our excursions resulted in getting lost. She always took it in stride and we would laugh that it took me so long to be able to drive from Auburn to New Gloucester without crossing the river into Lewiston. Mom was a very accomplished knitter, crocheter and seamstress and we all took our mending to her to do for us. She taught anybody who wanted to learn how to crochet or knit. Gifting all our friends babies with sweaters that she made while she was still able to knit and crochet. Her legacy of crafting will live on in the next generation as I continue to teach my grandchildren what my mother taught me. She taught me to can vegetables and make pickles and apple sauce just the way that she did, and when we lost her recipes, I searched the internet till we found recipes that were as close as we could find to her Christmas pickles. I am the woman I am momma because of the things you taught me about everything.
Rena is predeceased by her parents, her in-laws Patrick and Emily Burke, her husband H, Douglas, her daughter Kathleen and her husband George T. Way, her daughter Jacqueline Cota, her son in law Frank Teras, with whom she made her home with and her daughter in law Teddy Jane. she is also predeceased by her husbands siblings and their spouses.
Rena is survived by her son Patrick of Florida, daughter Nancy Teras of New Gloucester, son William and his wife Mary of St. Albans, Vermont.
Grandchildren George Way and his wife, Lisa, Patricia and her husband Toby Bernau, Douglas Burke, Robert Burke and his wife Chelsea, Holly and Michael Chouinard, Dee and Steve Hayman, Andy and his fiancé, Kimberly Snider and her partner Kevin Fontaine, Rachael and her husband Tyler Conklin, Catherine Teras and Thomas Goodbread.
Great Grandchildren, Patti's children, Greg, David, Danny, Hailey, James and Tim, Doug's children, Jefferson and Rebecca, Holly's children, Hunter Anne, Eva, Noah, Chloe, Riley, Kimberly's children, Lydia, Izabella (Belle) Kaleb, Kolby. Rachael's children, Colt, Gracin, Corrine.
Her one great great grandchild. Greg's daughter Opal.
Numerous nieces and nephews.
We will all miss her and are much better for having had her in our lives.
Due to social distancing and the pandemic, we are not going to have any service at this time. At a later date, we will bring mom's ashes to Vermont and have her buried in the family plot with dad in South Burlington, I will make sure to provide everyone when we make those plans. I want thank the nurses, aids, chaplain and councilor at Androscoggin Home Health and Hospice team out of Lewiston Maine, without your support and care, keeping momma home would have been almost impossible. She was very well cared for and I love you all for all you did, In lieu of flowers please donate to a them or a charity close to your heart in memory of Rena. I want to thank my neighbors Glen and Debbie Hunt who kept an eye on us and checked in and came and prayed with momma.
Momma you have always been there for me and these past 11 years you have lived with me have been the best, To always know you were cared for and loved meant the world to me. You have seen me through so many of lifes hardships and made moving on so much easier, From my divorce to moving to Maine to follow my heart, being my bride maid, when Frank and I wed, to loosing our home, numerous surgeries that you cared for me through, to loosing Frank to being just you and me to figure this life out, You gave me the tools to do this without you, I just have not realized it yet. I love you.