Carla Harriet Burks, 91, died at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-All Saints on Wednesday, April 1, 2009.
Carla Harriet Burks was born in Racine on June 13, 1917, and raised on the family farm of her parents Adolph and Marie (nee: Nielsen) Tandrup who had come from Denmark around 1912. They instilled in her a love for her Danish heritage, which she honored all her life. Carla passed this love onto her children and grandchildren.
She graduated from Union High School in 1935 and started her career at Hartmann Trunk. WW II changed her priorities. Carla’s contribution to the war effort was working for the War Department in Milwaukee as an expediter. This decision proved to be fateful as at a USO dance she met Louie “Lou” Burks, a handsome and charming southern gentleman from Texas. After a whirlwind courtship Lou was shipped overseas to Burma. However, the short time together was enough to form a lifelong bond. When Lou returned they were married in Racine on December 22, 1945.
When he became increasingly disabled due to MS, Carla’s innate determination and compassion were required to provide the care and support of her family. After Lou’s death in August 1979, her life took a whole new direction. She returned to college at age 62 to obtain her associate’s degree as a travel agent. This allowed her to expand her travel experiences to include the world. By the time she retired at 72, her travel adventures had included every continent aside from Antarctica. In Africa, she had a close encounter with a hippo and slept in the trees among the monkeys. In South America, she floated the Amazon.
Throughout life her highest priority was family. Carla spent her life as a cheerleader for her children and grandchildren and rarely missed a family occasion. With the help of local artists she became a competent watercolor artist. Her paintings and photographs reflected her travels and were accepted by juried art shows.
Carla lived her entire life with zest and enthusiasm. She was both gentle and tough. Carla is survived by her son, Michael and his wife Barbara Webster of Racine; her daughter, Carol Burks and Jim Davis of Green Bay; grandchildren, Jonathan and Jeremy Burks, Meghan and Alison Kiser, Melissa (Timothy) Northup, Carrie and Jeff Webster; and three great grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 5 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 2009, with funeral services at 6:30 p.m. at Mount Pleasant Lutheran Church, 1700 S. Green Bay Rd.
Interment will be Saturday at 10 a.m. at Union Grove Cemetery, Hwy 45 South.