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Eileen Frances Burkitt

October 17, 1925 February 7, 2014
Eileen Frances Burkitt
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Obituary for Eileen Frances Burkitt

Eileen Frances Maher Burkitt, 88, of Peoria, passed away peacefully at 1:00 p.m. Friday, February 7, 2014 at St. Joseph Home in Springfield, IL, surrounded by family, Sisters, and staff of St. Joseph’s Home. Born October 17, 1925 on her family farm in Brimfield to Thomas L. and Elizabeth C. (Boozan) Maher Sr. She met James R. Burkitt Sr. on the front steps of St. Mark’s Hall in 1946 and then married on January 11, 1947. He passed away on September 15, 1979 in Peoria. She is also preceded in death by her son James R. Jr., two sisters Betty Maher and Anita Maher and one brother Thomas Maher Jr. She is survived by five children; JoAnn (Wayne) Johnson of Morton, Sister Linda Burkitt, O.S.F. of Peoria, Diana (David) Daily of Naples, FL., Dr. David C. Burkitt of Peoria and Mari DeJarnett of Austin, TX. Two sisters; Kathryn (Keith) Claypool of Peoria and Rosemary (Cleo) Nollette of Kansas City, MO., and a daughter-in-law Norma Burkitt of Peoria. Eight grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews also survive. Eileen was a leader in her community. She attended the Academy of Our Lady high School Peoria and was involved in many organizations. She was honored to lead her class of 1942 in the commencement march from the high school to St Mary’s Cathedral. In 1959 she was awarded the prestigious special award ”Illinois March of Dimes Mother of the Year” by the Illinois March of Dimes National Foundation, in recognition of her courage and determination in combatting the ravages of polio; to maintain her rightful place as mother, homemaker and citizen; and her inspirational example to other young mothers fighting health-handicapping obstacles. Eileen was acknowledged by President Eisenhower for this award. In 1973, Eileen co-founded Burkitt Electric Incorporated with her late husband James R. Burkitt Sr. Together the couple organized and ran the corporation successfully until his passing in 1979. In 1980 Eileen sold the corporation to her son James R. Burkitt Jr. at which time she retired. Eileen enjoyed her retirement traveling to see her children around the country. She eventually lived full time in Los Angeles with her son David. She enjoyed working on many fund raising efforts. In 2010 she moved to St Josephs Home in Springfield Illinois. She was very energetic and loved life. She was always willing to help another person and always ready to get up and go. She will always be our inspiration and will be greatly missed. Funeral Mass will be 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at The Immaculate Conception Convent in West Peoria. Fr. Larry Zurek officiating. Visitation will be from 3:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Convent on Tuesday. Recitation of the Rosary will be at 4:30 p.m. A Committal Service will be at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at the Convent with a procession to Resurrection Cemetery to follow. Memorials are to The Sisters of St. Francis of The Immaculate Conception. Tributes and condolences may be submitted to


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