MADISON - Evelyn Vesta Burke Weible, 79, died Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at Agrace HospiceCare in Fitchburg, Wisconsin.
She requested no funeral and wrote this obituary:
I was born in Duncombe, Iowa on April 8, 1934. My parents were Vesta Mae Williams Burke and William Benjamin Burk, loving parents who have been missing from my life for a long time. My older brothers, Donald Hugh Burke and Francis William Burke (Frank), both died before their 74th birthdays. Frank's wife, Jayne Kirchner Burke, died before my brother. I never met a sister, who died as a baby, Florence Lydia Burke. My father died when my parents were quite young, and Mother married twice more. She was Vesta Mae Williams Burke Myers Hoover by her death at age 88.
I descended from a literate Iowa farm family, settled in Iowa in the 1850's as evidenced by a book of their letters published by the University of Iowa Press. The book is: This State of Wonders, the Letters of an Iowa Frontier Family.
My maternal grandparents were J. Frank and Lydia (Spainhower) Williams, and I was their youngest grandchild. I admired and enjoyed my Bell and Woodard cousins, and the younger ones of us remain in touch. My paternal grandparents left the U.S. to return to Romania just before World War I, leaving my father with my aunt.
My education began at Washington #1 Country School, Webster County, Iowa. I graduated from there after 8th grade, then Webster City's Lincoln High School, Webster City Junior College, The University of Iowa (Bachelor of Science in Business), The University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (Master of Librarianship), and The University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (Master of Science in Education). My last summer in graduate school in Seattle, I lived on a houseboat.
My first career jobs were with IBM after The University of Iowa, then, the New York Public Library as a branch children's librarian, after my degree in Librarianship from The University of Washington. I took the Staten Island ferry to my job every day. The "Village" and New York City were a bit too exciting for a country girl, so I returned to work as a librarian at The University of Iowa Library in the spring of 1960. One day, in the library, my husband, Elwyn Laurence Weible, introduced himself. We were married on February 4, 1961 at Danforth Chapel on The University of Iowa campus. We delayed our honeymoon, and then traveled to the West Coast and also spent several weeks in Mexico City, and moved to Madison in January, 1962.
I worked at several libraries in Madison, The University of Wisconsin Library in Cataloging, Madison Public Library in reference then the bookmobile, and the Central Children's Room. This was the "old days", and when I was 5 months pregnant with our son, Benjamin Laurence Weible, I had to "retire". Ben was born on July 28, 1965 and remains a great joy in my life. Another great joy has been to see Ben and his wife enjoy being parents. When Ben was little, I worked part-time at the Medical School Library, then at the Wisconsin Center for Research in Cognitive Learning. My longest and most fascinating career was as an Elementary School Librarian in the Middleton-Cross Plaines School District for 30 years. At that time I used the Cooperative Children's Book Center extensively, and eventually served two terms on the Board of the Friends of the Cooperative Children's Book Center, as board member at large, Treasurer, Vice President and President. Over a period of 30 years I had quite a few "student librarians" with me for the University of Wisconsin Library School (as it was the designated) practicum.
Otherwise, I enjoyed a quiet life with my wonderful husband and our friends. We almost always went to the Union Concert Series, many concerts on the UW School of Music as well as opera, here and in Chicago, and some music festivals in Norway. My husband and I once tried to learn to play the cello as adults, and still have Celli sitting around the house. We were able to enjoy several years of the Token Creek Festival. My major passions were reading - many kinds of literature, enjoying music, being inspired by the creativity of visual artists from many eras. My storytelling group increased my knowledge of folklore for children as well as developing great friendships. Another secret pleasure was my role as "Storylady" in a friend's articles for a professional journal about teaching reading.
At one time I was an active member of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, and learned many gardening skills from two friends, Jane Wood and Jessie Crane. I started as a weeder and worked on the garden for several years. I sang in the choir for several years and even taught Sunday School.
My survivors are my husband Elwyn, of Madison, our son, Benjamin Weible, his wife, Christin Feuerstraeter, their son Zachary Weible, and their daughter, Julia Weible, all of Oakland, CA; my nephews, Bill and David Burke, and my niece, Carol Reed and their families, all Californians and children of my brother Donald. Their brother, Scott, died in 1967. Also, my brother Frank's son Larry and his family, all of Tennessee.
I have already mentioned many of my family who have "gone on", I missed them. Never forgotten in my life, were our twin granddaughters, Annabel Rose and Zoe Mae Weible, stillborn; my childhood, lifelong friend Geneice Janson Nielson and my husband's parents, Ella and Lorenzo Weible. Lorenzo lived with us for nine years until he was 99. We have always said we are so glad we had him with us. Leeta Berry, of Iowa City, was one of my great mentors. Margaret Davis, of Webster City and Ames, Iowa led me into being a librarian.
I think I have always had excellent medical care, or I would not have lived so long. If any of my doctors and nurses read this, I did appreciate you a lot. Staff, teachers, and members of my Pilates class at U.W. Sports Medicine, kept me moving and I sometimes exercised 6-8 hours a week. Many of my colleagues in teaching and library work remain dear friends, and I leave with much gratitude for their many kindnesses during this second cancer. We have lived in a wonderful neighborhood, with great people who added so much to my pleasure for so many years. Here also gratitude must be expressed as many kindnesses have been evident during this illness. I know it will be okay that I have "gone on" and end this with my poem of that title:
The mourning has disappeared this new day
Sitting, accepting the soft rain,
Next, welcoming the sun's return.
Such pristine grass, sparkling now
Leaves no room to weep over the departed.
Dead, departed, gone on, what can one say?
About one's former family?
We have been a mostly orderly group
Except for the baby Florence Lydia
Who arrived, departed in 10 days,
Long before I was on the scene.
The olders came, and all have gone on, I like that best.
Father, mother, older brother, next brother,
All in proper turn, leaving me,
With a very lately arrived understanding
Why my mother no longer wept for her mother after 40 years.
Once I had judged her heartless.
Written August 13, 2003, previously unpublished.
Anyone wishing to honor her memory can make donations to UW Carbone Cancer Center.
Family is planning service for a future date.