Kathryn "Kate" (McCartney) Burke, Santa Rosa, CA/Formerly Milton, WI (1966 - 2013)
May 26, 1966 - February 14, 2013
Kathryn "Kate" Burke (McCartney), passed away at her home in Santa Rosa, CA, on Feb. 14, 2013. Kate was born to Thomas and Jean McCartney on May 26, 1966, in Milton, WI. Kate graduated from Milton High School in 1984, finishing her secondary education as senior class president. She was involved in a variety of sports, music and extracurricular activities while at Milton High School. Kate graduated in 1989, from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. While attending UWEC, Kate studied abroad in London, England, where she grew to love traveling and continued to visit new and exotic places throughout her adulthood. She enjoyed many family trips, especially to Hawaii and Europe. She began a career with Lifetouch National School Studios in 1999, where she met her husband. They married and moved to Santa Rosa in 1994, to pursue their careers in the school picture business. Kate advanced through the MVP program at Lifetouch in four years and was promoted to Manager of the Santa Rosa territory in 1994.
Kathryn is survived by her husband, Brian; and her children, Riley and Colin; her mother, Jean McCartney; brother, Thomas McCartney; sister, Jennifer DeGarmo; and numerous cousins; nieces, and nephews. Her father, Thomas, preceded her in death on Feb. 14, 1996.
In May 2004, Kate was diagnosed with Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), an aggressive form of brain cancer. Upon her diagnosis, Kate retired from Lifetouch and devoted her life and service to her family and others fighting brain cancer. Kate loved life and lived it to the fullest—even before her diagnosis. She is known to many as a true champion—not only in her continual fight against her own cancer, but also in her countless efforts to help find a cure, educate and inform others with similar diagnoses, and support brain cancer research. In 2010, she received the “Ya Gotta Believe!” award from the Tug McGraw Foundation, which highlights the inspirational accomplishments of those who have overcome all odds through their own personal strength. The award recognized that she not only prevailed against overwhelming personal obstacles, but also helped and inspired others along the way. Kate was invited to represent the state of California in Washington DC, for Livestrong Day. Knowing this, she wrote: "For those of you who have loved ones that have lost this fight, for those of you that might be in the middle of this journey, and for those of you that have come out on the other side ... I will carry the torch of trying to find a cure for us ALL." Kate was also the emcee for the National Brain Tumor Society’s San Francisco cancer walk for three consecutive years.
The family would like to thank the following people and organizations for their tireless support and commitment: the staff and community of Spring Hills Church, the kind and generous folks at Lifetouch Inc., Dr. Michael McDermott, Dr. Michael Prados and the entire staff of USCF Neurology, the National Brain Tumor Society, Caringbridge, ABC2 and Virtualtrials.com.
A celebration of her life will be held at 1 p.m. on Feb. 23, 2013, at SPRING HILLS COMMUNITY CHURCH in Santa Rosa, CA. In lieu of other expressions of sympathy, the family asks that donations be made in her honor to the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center, PO Box 45339, San Francisco, CA, 94145