Rita Burke’s life began in Margaret Hayes Hospital in Jersey City, New Jersey on September 17, 1954. She was one of four children born to John and Catherine Burke.
Rita was raised and educated in Jersey City. She graduated from Henry Snyder High School in 1973. She later graduated from Jersey City University (currently NJCU).
A born Educator, Rita received certification from both the Newark and Jersey City Boards of Education. She was gainfully employed for over twenty-five years in both the Newark and Jersey City Public School systems. She was an extremely adept and versatile educator. Because of her versatility, she was able to be positioned in various grade levels throughout her teaching career. Her commitment to education was impressive. She successfully nurtured the minds of children of all ages, levels, backgrounds, personalities, and different walks of life.
Rita was also an extremely dedicated woman of faith. She accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at a very early age and became a member of Mt. Pisgah A.M.E. Church in Jersey City in the early ‘70s. Her service was extensive, devoting over forty years of faithfulness and dedication to her church. She loved being a part of the Pastor's Aide Society. During her many years of service, she attended to at least four Ministers. Rita loved her church, loved ministering, loved being a part of the Society, but most of all she loved her God.
Some noteworthy things about Rita: She loved her “cute as a button,” black miniature poodle, fur baby, Onyx. She spoiled him rotten. Rita was also known to many as a very sweet person. She had a comforting smile that could light up a room. She was easy going, resilient, very independent, charismatic, dedicated, as well as a very hard worker. All who knew Rita would crown her a fashionista. She loved to dress and absolutely loved to shop. Her family had a running joke that, although it was no secret that Rita didn’t know how to cook, it didn’t stop her from loving to eat. Rita would tell you in a minute, “Do I look like I miss a meal?” Again, it must be said that Rita loved God and was a wonderful woman of faith. Her most favorite scripture was Psalm 23. She loved it in its entirety. This scripture spoke to Rita’s life. The Lord was her Shepherd. Because of that, her wants were taken care of. She allowed herself to be led by Him. Her soul was restored and enriched as she served him through her commitment to her church, community, and her life.
Rita Burke departed this life on October 4, 2022, at the age of sixty-eight. She lived a life worthy of recognition, honor, and celebration. She was dearly loved by many and will be truly missed.
She was predeceased by her parents, Catherine Burke Howard and John Burke, her brother, Kevin Burke and her brother-in-law, Darvin Bethea.
She leaves to cherish her memory: her devoted brother, Evans Burke and future sister-in-love, Deneen (Rita introduced them); loving and caring sister, Kim Burke-Bethea and children, Zaire E. Bethea and Zion L. Bethea; her only niece, Zarria K. Bethea; first and oldest nephew, Kevin Dawyon Burke; only aunt, who was like a mother, Willie Mae Robinson; her toy poodle, fur baby, Onyx; and a host of other family, relatives and friends.
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