March 8, 1929 - June 21, 2020
Born in Salinas, California
Resided in Salinas, California
She is survived by sons Rick Burke (Beverly) of Salinas, CA and Denny Burke (Kathleen) of Carmel Valley, daughter Sarah Burnap (Jimmy) of Los Angeles and seven grandchildren: Mick Burke (San Diego), Matt Burke (Laguna Hills, CA), Amanda Burke (Salinas), Jeff Burke (Ft. Stewart, GA), Jack Burke (Carmel Valley), Clark Burnap (Los Angeles) and Alec Burnap (Los Angeles).
Ellyse graduated from Salinas High School, attended Scripps College and ultimately graduated from UC Berkeley. She returned to Salinas after college, married and became the mother of five children.
Her sincere interest in the lives of others reverberated throughout her friends and family, but also through her life-long dedication to service. Her volunteer work included the Junior League, Entre Nous, The Steinbeck House, Meals on Wheels, The National Steinbeck Center, ATT Pro-Am Golf Tournament and the Monterey Jazz Festival. She served on numerous committees at Sacred Heart School and Palma High School, as well as setting up the gift shop at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.
Enthusiastic, curious, engaging and straightforward are just a few of the endearing qualities Ellyse shared with her friends and family. She lived in a beautiful home which she shared, of course, with her family - but also with foreign exchange students, musicians, actors and out of town visitors. She had a gracious and welcoming spirit and was fascinated with other people’s lives and well-being. Ellyse’s ability to measure the soul of a person took one from “stranger” to “dear friend” in a short time. Her dear friends were enormously important to her - and many of the friendships started in childhood and continued all the way through until the end. In fact, it has always been her friends that have lifted her up, carried her through the tragedies, and provided the camaraderie that have always been of utmost importance to her. She loved her friends dearly and they in return.
Ellyse had many interests and hobbies. For many years she was a member of Chamisal Tennis Club, enjoying doubles tennis. She was an enthusiastic bridge player, cherishing the thrice weekly games that filled up her recent calendar - until COVID-19 shut down her favorite pastime. Starting in childhood and extending into her 80’s - Ellyse enjoyed horseback riding. She was given her first pony at age 3, and spent her childhood and teenage years riding through the hills and gullies of Carmel Valley - her 2nd most beloved place on earth. The California Rodeo was most definitely her favorite time of year - participating in and attending the 4-day event was a highlight in her life. Ellyse traveled extensively - multiple trips to Europe and Mexico, trips to the Galapagos Islands, West Indies, Costa Rica, and Israel to name just a few favorite destinations.
She touched the lives of so many. She was truly an indomitable spirit - nothing defeated her. She took all the ups and downs that life can toss out and showed her family how to navigate them - through sheer stubbornness, humor and practicality. Her friendships were her core strength, and undoubtedly she returned the kindness.
Her children will forever miss the force of nature that was Ellyse - but are grateful that she was absolutely clear in how she wanted to conduct her final days of life, an amazing example of living life to the fullest.
Services private per her wishes. She wanted her friends and family to remember her from her blowout 90th birthday party, so please keep that memory close in your hearts. Please no flowers, if you would like to honor our mother, then please consider donating to the Patrick Burke Memorial Foundation (supporting Marine Corp families: send checks to 26442 Veracruz Lane, Mission Viejo, CA 92691) or the Monterey County SPCA (PO BOX 3058, Monterey, CA 93942).
Salinas, CA US 93901
Mission Viejo, California 92691
Monterey, CA US 93942-3058