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Elaine Rieck (Burke)

Birthdate: (62)
Birthplace: Riverside, NJ, United States
Death: November 22, 2002 (62)
Hawaii, United States (Cardiopalmonary Arrest, Cerebral Hernialien Syndrome)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of George Lee Burke and Ida McGinty
Wife of Bernhard Robert Rieck
Mother of <private> Rieck; Private User and Kathleen Rieck
Sister of <private> Larkins (Burke) and Shirley Burke

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Elaine Rieck

Web Obituary for Elaine Rieck Written by Bernie Rieck. This memorial was never published in a newspaper, instead he replaced her sewing website with this text for all her online friends to see.

In memory of Elaine Rieck (nee Burke) 1940-2002

I was asked many times if there was to be a memorial service for Elaine. My answer had to be 'no'. How could a memorial service be held when her friends and acquaintances ranged from Tasmania to Scotland, from San Diego to Philadelphia? Instead I thought it proper to provide an internet memorial, so that everyone could know Elaine; that is what a memorial service is for, isn't it?

I had been married to Elaine since January 1, 1960; I had known Elaine since the summer of 1952, when I met her at a summer camp in southern NJ. Even at that time there was something that attracted her to me and me to her (she was 12 and I was 14).

When we married we had nothing to our names except the wedding presents we received, and we stuffed what we could into our 1955 Olds and headed to Norfolk VA for our non-honeymoon. On the way we stopped at Salisbury, MD (Lord Salisbury motel) for the night (with 'just married' painted with 'glass wax' on the trunk of the car).

We set up housekeeping in Norfolk, VA (I was in the Navy at the time). Within a couple of months I shipped out, leaving Elaine alone for the first time in her life. When my allotment failed to come through in time, she packed up our belongs and returned to NJ all alone.

Upon my discharge from the Navy (June 1960) I arrived in NJ to find that Elaine had rented an apartment and furnished it in Danish Modern (the thing, at that time). I found that my bride was someone to be reckoned with.

Because of a job change (mine), we moved to the Washington, DC area, just in time to be part of the Kennedy assassination goings-on. After a couple of years it was back to NJ for the rest of the time until 1980.

We had three children, Ken born in 1961, Jim born in 1963, and Kathy born in 1966. During the time the children were growing up, Elaine was working her way up in Sarah Coventry (a home party jewelry company, for you youngsters). Due to her efforts, we vacationed in Puerto Rico, Curacao, Jamaica, Bermuda, and several cities in the USA over the years between 1974 - 1980. She had over 100 girls working under her in 1980, when I discovered San Diego. Without question she left everything and we moved to San Diego in 1981.

As a mother, Elaine felt her place was with her children during the day when I was at work. The Sarah Coventry work was usually in the evenings, when I was able to watch the children. During the day, she started her sewing business, working for customers that required or desired personal fitting of clothes. Elaine's joy was having a daughter that she could sew frilly outfits for.

Soon after we settled in San Diego, the Sarah Coventry business went belly-up and Elaine went into office work (which she hated) to help with the family income. On the side she started her sewing business again which grew into an almost full time operation of itself. Finally came the machine embroidery business, in which she fully involved herself, as was her usual mode of operation.

Elaine was struck with breast cancer in 1987 and had a lumpectomy and lymph glands removed on her right side. As she was healing, she was determined not to lose use of either arm/hand and continued sewing for customers, regardless of the pain involved. The same year her mother died, adding to her grief, but she kept working on her sewing jobs.

Somehow (unknown to me) she became involved in the machine embroidery world, and soon it became her second life. She was enthralled with it and the ability it gave her to use her creative side to full advantage. As usual with Elaine, she plunged in body and soul, not starting slowly, but at the hardest process she could find. Then came the machines; Viking, Pfaff, Bernina, Singer; the sergers, and the software programs and the stabilizers and the hoops and the..... internet groups. Writing instructional letters, helping those newbe's that were lost, reviewing others instructions, providing the inspirational word needed by someone. She did all of that and more. Every evening found her, in her lazy-girl recliner, laptop computer in her lap, either digitizing or reviewing, or writing letters, or cursing some software program for not doing what it said it was supposed to do.

Each of you she loved, even though she might never meet you in person; and when she could get together with a person or group, she was ecstatic. Las Vegas, Calgary, Orange county, Del Mar Fair, Boca Raton, Florida, Puyallup, etc., etc. were to be our destinations now. Often I was only the designated driver and when she got with a group, time and I were forgotten. I didn't mind though, for my overwhelming desire was to see Elaine enjoying herself, either with me or with others.

As we both climbed in age over 60, and were free of responsibilities, we decided to travel again; but where to? Europe, England and such were discussed but there was never enough enthusiasm to start. Then the big island of Hawaii was raised. It was a GO and Elaine planned the entire trip, down to the last detail, except one. After eight straight days of touring on our own, we had just left the wonderful Floral Gardens on the east side and were heading for a place where they make wooden bowls, when God called her to Him. Her last words to me, as we were driving were, "Oh, what's happening to me" as she put her hands to her head. And then she went into a coma and never revived.

What can I say? She and I are both born-again Christians without apology. We both knew that we were only pilgrims on this earth, and that our real home is in eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ. At first, when she was taken I thought,'Oh, it must be heat stroke' and was hoping that she would greet me from the hospital bed with a ,"HI hon"... but she was dead.

As with King David, when his son was to be stricken by God, he had hope; but when his son died, he washed and ate and went back to work. He said, "As long as the boy was alive, I could hope for mercy from God, but now that he is dead, there is nothing more I can do for him."

So it is now; Elaine is where I long to be but I must go on. 50 years of memories to sift through. But I am glad for Elaine; I do not sorrow, except for my personal loss. When we were married we became one in the eyes of God, so now there is only half of our entity remaining in me.

I wish to thank each of you who gave their condolence to me either by card or e-mail, and to those of you who may have expressed yourself on one of the lists, which I did not see. May Elaine be remembered in your hearts for what she was to you.


Bernie Rieck

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Elaine Rieck's Timeline

June 23, 1940
Riverside, NJ, United States
November 22, 2002
Age 62
Hawaii, United States

Verified with Social Security Death Index