Cover photo for Louise Burk's Obituary
Louise Burk Profile Photo

Louise Burk

September 11, 1932 — October 14, 2023


My mom, Louise Irene Garmon Burk, was the fourth of nine children born to Lena Stone and Ivey Garmon, in a wood plank Cabbage Town house, on her momma’s bed, during the “longest and deepest downturn in the history of the United States,” the Great Depression, in 1932. That same year, Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated sitting president Herbert Hoover in a landslide election, Nazi leader Adolph Hitler was seizing control of the German government, unemployment in the U.S. hit 33%, and the Dow Industrial Average hit rock bottom. Her father kept the family alive by working on Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) projects. TVA trucks picked the men up in the morning and dropped them back off in the late afternoons to the smell of homegrown stewing cabbage which became the namesake for that part of Atlanta, Georgia.

Her three favorite performers were Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Sarah Vaughan. If she had to pick one, it’d be Sarah Vaughan. Her favorite drink was a vodka tonic, crushed ice, fresh lime, always before dinner, and never more than two. While our dad worked, “Lou” took care of me, my sister Carole, the house, the yard, the pets, and over the years experimented with being a garage entrepreneur. She made ceramic home decors, operated a dog grooming business, and beat furniture with chains to make them look antique. She was a dedicated and loving wife for nearly 65 years until the death of her husband Eric in 2017.

She was a wonderful cook and showed her love by making elaborate meals for her family. Her signature dish was German Chocolate cake, which took two days to prepare, and only graced our table at Christmas. Louise had an unmatched sense of humor, and until her very last days, gave us hell and laughed at us and herself. She instilled in her family to find the fun in life and not to put up with anything you didn’t care for. She found joy in watching her family grow and celebrated their accomplishments, big and small.

During her lifetime she watched 23 different presidential elections. When she graduated high school the average price of a home was $8,450, automobiles were$1,510, and the average annual income in the U.S. was $3,210. When she gave birth to her first child the Jack Benny Show and Rin Tin Tin debuted on network television, tickets to movies were 70 cents, and the Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The Viet Nam War ended and Beta Max video tapes were introduced the same year her youngest child graduated from high school. Louise became a grandmother for the first time in 1982, the same year Bud Light and Diet Coke hit the market, David Letterman started hosting the Late Show, and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial was the year’s hit at the box office. She became a great grandmother in 2011 when twins, Jack and Lucy, were born to Josh and Kasey Burk.

The year before she died hydrogen powered trains were introduced in Germany and NASA’s James Webb telescope captured images of a planet outside our solar system. Louise Irene Garmon Burk’s long life, wealth of practical life experience and entertaining simple wisdom combined with her legendary story telling ability established her as the definitive matriarch of the Burk clan. She’s preceded in death by her husband Eric and her daughter Carole. She is survived by her sister Linda Hicks and her husband Lamar, and her son and his wife, Bob and Tricia Burk. Her grandchildren, and their spouses, surviving her include Josh and Kasey Burk, Ryan and Hannah Spell, Rachel Burk, Jessica Powell, Erica and Cole Grier, and Parker and Elizabeth Albright. Lou’s 12 great grandchildren carrying on are Jack, Lucy, Madelyn, Charlotte, Zoey, Emerson, Ellis, Piper, Olivia, Audrey, John Parker and Addison.

At Louise’s request pastor Clyde Stokes will officiate a private memorial service. She will be laid to rest with her husband Eric, at the McLane Riverview Mausoleum here in Valdosta. Louise requested donations to Hospice of South Georgia in lieu of flowers.

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