Joanne Mary ‘Joan’ Yarnall Burke, 89

Joanne Mary “Joan” Yarnall Burke, 89, of Bethany Beach, Del., passed away peacefully on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019. She was born on July 6, 1930, in Cumberland, Md., to Jessie Abbott Yarnall and Francis deSales Yarnall.

Burke graduated from the Ursuline Academy in Cumberland in 1949. She worked at the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company from 1949 to 1951, in both Cumberland and Washington, D.C. She was also employed with the Associated Press in Washington.

In 1951, Burke moved to D.C., where she met and married John Francis Burke. They lived there until they moved to Chevy Chase, Md., in 1960. They were married for 68 years and raised five children. Upon retirement, they chose to spend their remaining years in Bethany Beach, where they’d had a second home, and enjoyed countless trips to visit and host family and friends for more than 45 years.

Burke was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother. She treasured her life on the Eastern Shore and had a deep appreciation and knowledge of music, politics and travel. She loved gatherings of family and friends, and especially enjoyed trading stories with her grandchildren and their friends.

Over her lifetime, Burke was a church volunteer and founding member of Christ the King in Silver Spring, Md., and a member of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Bethany Beach. The Burkes were active in civil-rights events, including bringing their children to the Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968. She was a school volunteer at Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda, Md., and Dunblane Elementary in Washington. For other community outreach, she was a founding member of the House of Ruth; student mentor at Lord Baltimore Elementary in Ocean View, Del.; and active member of the Democratic Party.

Burke was preceded in death by her husband, John Francis Burke; her brother, John “Jack” Yarnall; and her sisters Patricia Yarnall and MaryAnne Bailey. She is survived by her sisters Jean Haas, Joyce Eisler (her twin), and Kathryn Bray and her spouse, Robin; her brother, Francis Yarnall and his spouse, Pat; a sister-in-law, Mary Burke Brown; a brother-in-law, Gerard Burke; and her children, Ann Connor, Joan Rubertone and her husband, Mark, John and his wife, Julie, Martin and his wife, Kathleen, Cecilia D’Orazio and her husband, Richard; 14 grandchildren, Louis King and his wife, Asiah, Katherine O’Neill and her husband, Colin, Kevin Connor, Vincent Rubertone, Cecelia Rubertone, John Burke and his wife, Laura, Bridget Burke Florsic and her husband, Filip, Martin, Katherine and Colin Burke, Matthew, Elizabeth, Andrew and Joseph D’Orazio; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial Mass will take place on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019, at noon at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington, Md. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Bethany Beach Police Department, the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company or the Sussex County EMS. Condolences may be sent online at