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October 22, 1995 ~ September 29, 2023 (age 27) 27 Years Old
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Eliza Grafton Burke, activist, animal lover, artist, and karaoke queen, took her own life on September 29, 2023, at the age of 27. She was laid to rest at the Ordination Rock Cemetery in Tamworth, New Hampshire, in a green burial.
Eliza is survived by her sister, Leah Burke, of Portland, Maine; her parents Annie and Geoffrey Burke of Tamworth, New Hampshire; her grandparents Kate Kennedy and Nathanael Greene of Cape Elizabeth, Maine; and many dearly beloved aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Eliza was born on October 22, 1995, in North Conway, New Hampshire. Raised in Tamworth, New Hampshire, she graduated from Kennett High School and Pomona College. From her earliest age, she fearlessly blazed her own trail. She had a wicked sense of humor, a golden heart, and a fierce sense of moral justice. Her life and career were defined by her deep caring for causes she believed in. At the time of her passing, she was employed at Glickman Academy in Portland, Maine, providing behavioral health services to adolescents.
She will be remembered for biking through downtown Portland on her orange bicycle she called her “steed,” a smile on her face and a milk crate zip-tied to the back. She will be remembered for painting at her parents’ kitchen table by the wood stove and for strapping furniture of all sizes to her car (no roof rack required). She will be remembered for getting up to sing a technically-difficult downer of a song at a karaoke bar “to keep it real.” She will be remembered as the angelically blonde scamp of a kid swimming at Bearcamp Pond. She will be remembered for showing up to dinner with her pet mice riding along in her fanny pack. She will be remembered as a sister, a daughter, a friend, a colleague—and for always being her lovingly quirky self.
Do not let Eliza’s passing go in vain. After a battle with mental illness that culminated in her suicide, her family is left asking themselves what they could have done differently to help her. If you are struggling, in any way large or small, we implore you to ask for help. Know that you are loved and people want you to lean on them. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please call or text the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or make contact with your local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) chapter.
A celebration of life will be held in April of 2024. In lieu of flowers, donations in Eliza’s memory can be made to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland at www.arlgp.org/memorial. Alternatively, in her honor, we encourage you to set aside a few hours to volunteer for a cause close to your heart.