In Memory of Patricia Helen Burke (Risley)

August 17, 1953 - December 25, 2019

Resided in New Hartford , NY


print this

Patricia Burke (Risley), 66, of New Hartford, NY passed away peacefully on Christmas morning, with her family by her side, after a sudden and brief illness in December.

Pat was born August 17, 1953 in Syracuse, NY, a daughter of Patricia Welch Burke and the late William L. Burke, II. She attended Hamilton schools, Endicott Junior College, received her Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport and her Master’s degree in Education from SUNY Cortland.

Pat dedicated over 35 years to teaching art across various school districts, most recently at BOCES in special education classrooms. She began her career with early childhood education at Head Start 38 years ago and never lost her passion for helping youth. She loved connecting with students, learning each of their stories and the healing and connecting power of art education. Her students’ lives were enriched by her kindness, listening and sense of humor. She was always ready to roll up her sleeves and grab a paint brush and glitter for decorating school events, especially plays and graduations. Pat’s children benefited from her creative hand in making the very best school projects, crafts and Halloween costumes. Her family and friends were always grateful for her talented calligraphy and the time she would devote to handwriting wedding invitations and various artistic endeavors.

In her recent years in retirement, Pat dedicated much of her time to the Catholic Church and her prayer community. She attended Our Lady of Lourdes Church and she was a daily communicant across a number of parishes that she cherished. Pat was an adorer for 25 years at Perpetual Adoration at St. Joseph & St. Patrick Church, and this weekly ritual held a special place in her heart. She was a member of the Rosa Mystica and Father Gobbi prayer groups, and was a prayer warrior for the pro-life cause; through these beliefs and many groups and gatherings, she made dear friends and lasting connections. She was always meeting and supporting new people, and extending a hand or ride, be it to mass, doctor’s appointments or religious trips. Pat will be remembered by her warm smile and hugs, “creative” driving and absolute, unfaltering faith.

Pat’s warmth, presence and adventurous spirit will be deeply missed by her three children and their spouses: Madeline (William) Fenton of Old Forge, NY; Michael (Kelly) Risley of Sauquoit, NY; Meghan (Philip) Cernera of New York, NY; and by her seven grandchildren, of whom she was so proud and who gave her endless laughs: Tyler and Nolan Fenton; Connor Hudon; Myla, Jax, Ty and Kaz Risley.

Pat is also survived by her mother, Patricia Burke of Fayetteville, NY; her friend and former husband, Robert Risley of New Hartford, NY; her five siblings, their spouses, children and grandchildren who she loved so much, and treasured her visits with, sharing stories and laughing for hours: sisters Maureen O’Sullivan of Orlando, FL and Marian (John) Blain of Hamilton, NY; and her brothers William (Patty) Burke of Needham, MA; Tom Burke of Fayetteville, NY; and John (Wendi) Burke of Los Angeles, CA. She will be missed as an aunt and great aunt to over 30 wonderful people who were touched by her love, prayers and the devout perspective she brought to the family. Pat has now joined her predeceased loved ones with the Lord, including her father, William, her brother James Burke and brother-in-law Charlie O’Sullivan.

The family wishes to extend their heartfelt gratitude to the medical teams and staff at the Health Science Centre in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA and the Abraham House in Rome, NY for all of the care given to Pat and to her family over the past month. Like her family, Pat would have been in awe of these people doing God’s work with tremendous kindness and grace.

The funeral will be on Monday, December 30th at 11 AM at St. Joseph & St. Patrick’s Church in Utica, NY, where a Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated. Interment is expected to be in St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Hamilton in the spring. Calling hours are on Sunday, December 29th from 2 to 5 PM at Friedel, Williams & Edmunds, 13 Oxford Road, New Hartford, NY.

In lieu of flowers, should friends and family desire, contributions may be made to the Abraham House in Rome, NY.