Obituary: Valerie Burke, 79

by | Nov 2, 2023

A registered nurse who also excelled at sales

Valerie Burke, of East Greenwich, passed away unexpectedly on Oct. 28. She was born in Acushnet, Mass., and graduated from New Bedford High School. Val spoke fondly of her time studying nursing and caring for patients at St Luke’s Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. But what she wanted more than anything was to be a mother.  She married her high school sweetheart, Joseph Burke, in 1966. Shortly thereafter, she had her first son, Joseph. After moving to Rochester, N.Y., Lisa and Allison soon followed. 

In 1977 Val and Joe moved back to New England and settled in Barrington, Rhode Island, where they remained for 25 years. Val was so happy to be back near her family and close to the ocean. Summers were spent sailing and going to the beach. In the winter there were ski trips to the White Mountains. And always large family gatherings around the holidays.  

Val spent 20 years working as a registered nurse. She obtained a bachelor of science degree in health & human services from Roger Williams University. But with her outgoing, dynamic personality, it was at age 40 that she discovered her true passion: sales. With her drive, perseverance and ingenuity, she turned a small home business into a viable enterprise. She won a car with the license plate “I WON IT.” She helped to fund her children’s education.  

It was never about personal enrichment; she utilized her strengths and talents to give to those in need, to listen, to support, to encourage. Valerie was a faithful Christian who dedicated her life to serving others as a nurse, as a wife and mother, as a church member and community volunteer.  Val opened her doors to all – colleagues, neighbors, siblings, friends, her kids’ friends. She welcomed everyone and made you feel special. She always said, “Things don’t matter … people do.” That was her mission: to make you feel loved and valued. 

Val’s grandchildren – Joey, Sydney & Ryan Burke, Thomas Jr. & Julia Perrelli, and Samantha & Jami Adams – will remember their grandmother for her selflessness, caring and generosity, her adventurous spirit and spontaneity. Val always sent just the right card or care package to let you know that she cared, and that she was thinking about you. 

Valerie is survived by her beloved husband of 57 years, Joseph; her children & their spouses: 

Joseph & Shari Burke, Lisa Burke & Greg Adams and Allison & Tommy Perrelli; and her sisters June, Verna & Karen. She is predeceased by her parents Edith & Valmore; siblings Junior, Dorothy, Gail, Gary & Jeffrey; granddaughter Maxine; and her faithful pooches Julie & Lucy. 

“Blessed are the pure in HEART, for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8 

Her funeral and burial will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. 

You can leave an online condolence at the Hill Funeral Home website HERE.

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EG News Obituary Policy: We post obituaries relevant to our readers. If you would like to share an obituary, send it to [email protected]. Put “obituary” in the subject line. 

Posted 11/2/23

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