Saretta Kaplan Burke, the last of her generation in our family, Saretta passed away gently on March 2 in Middleton, WI, preceded in death by her parents Abe Lew and Pauline Baskind Kaplan, younger sister Audie Delugach, and husband Robert W Burke.
Born in Chicago in 1926 and raised in Tulsa, OK, she met her husband while she was a student at the University of Chicago. Together they raised their four sons in Toledo, OH: Phillip (Sara) Barak of Madison, WI, Elliot (Kathy) Burke of Santa Barbara, CA, Terry (Debbie) Burke of Toledo, OH, and Russell (Miranda) Burke of Bellville, NY.
She was short in stature, big in personality, and multitalented: seamstress, den mother, operatic singer, poll worker, and story teller, She wore purple and red, admired giraffes and loved a succession of dachshunds. Her travels took her to Israel, Paris, Machu Picchu and Kenya. Saretta was a long-time supporter of women’s rights and women in politics and had the satisfaction of casting her vote for the female popular vote winner in the 2016 presidential election.
She realized her childhood dream when she went back to school for a masters degree in library science and afterward worked as a reference librarian for years. She retired three separate times, from the Toledo Public Library, Owens Technical College, and Temple B’nai Israel, before she and her husband moved to Madison.
Her final years were filled with the delight of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who adored her. Graveside services will be held at Beth Sholom Cemetery, Memphis, TN, at 10 am, March 7.