BURKE, Beth Ann (nee Mackinnon) - Beth passed away in Barrie Ontario, on April 19, 2017.
She was a sweetheart from her birth, born February 14, 1936 in Sydney, Nova Scotia. At the age of 19, she moved to Toronto where she met a handsome ballroom dancer and upholsterer, Gordon Burke, who soon after became her husband.
She hoped to pursue a career as a singer, but instead began having children very soon after her marriage, and brought music into the lives of their 9 beautiful children, Jimmy Dillon, Cecilia Burke, Paul Burke, Danny Dillon, Valerie Burke, Ed Burke, Mary Dillon & Patricia Burke who went on to have families of their own, with tens of wonderful grandchildren that Beth was extremely proud of.
A lifelong musician, Beth was involved with barbershop, taught ballroom dancing, started a division of Brownies in Thornton, the separate school bus system, was involved with many local Simcoe stage productions and sang in the St. John Vianney Choir with her daughters and Gordon.
She cofounded ‘The Flag Store’ in Thornton, Ontario (formerly known as Flags Unlimited) with Gordon in 1965, and although she passed it on to her children to run full time, she continued to be involved with the operation of the company her whole life. Beth was instrumental in developing the sewn Canadian flag which continues to be the cornerstone and strength of The Flag Store today.
She also nurtured the success of her sons Paul (Flagsource Canada) and Ed (The Look Company) as they launched their own businesses, and was so proud of their international success. The Flag Store has grown to be an incredibly successful company, which started out by creating the Canadian Flag that flew over the Parliament Building, and most recently is creating the flags for the Canada 150 celebrations.
After Gordon passed away in 1983, Beth remarried to Vern Clarke from Portland, Oregon, and the two of them explored the United States together in their camper van. They were married for 10 wonderful years, and when Vern passed away, Beth moved back up to Canada and spent as much time as possible with her family, friends and the Flag Store.
Beth is survived and will be deeply missed by her loving children Cecilia and her partner Candidoro, Patricia, Danny, Mary, Ed and wife Deborah, Paul and his wife Kerry, Valerie and her husband Glenn, and Jim and his wife Rhonda, scores of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Special thanks goes to Amica Retirement Living in Barrie, Ontario. Their caring staff will always be remembered and their efforts are very much appreciated. In lieu of flowers, please make any contributions to Royal Victoria Hospital for their attentive, private and personal care to our mom in her last days.
Family and friends will be received at Steckley-Gooderham Funeral Home, Barrie, Ontario, on Saturday, April 22, 2017 for a service starting at 12pm. Visitation from 10am. Reception to follow. Cremation.