Quilting 2

Kathryn Jo (Tipton) Burkes

November 14, 1947 ~ December 27, 2019 (age 72)


On Friday, December 27, 2019, Kathryn Tipton Burkes, beloved wife and mother of three, passed away at the age of 72 after a heroic battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Kathy was born November 14, 1947, in Wilkes-Barre PA to Joe Tipton and Reva (Earls) Tipton.  Her father played professional baseball for years, and Kathy spent much of that time growing up in Joe’s hometown of McCaysville, GA.  After Joe’s retirement the family moved to Pleasant Grove, AL, where she met and married her high school sweetheart, Lee Cowley, on June 9, 1967.  They had one daughter together, Susann, before Lee passed away from cancer. Two years later, Kathy met Henry Burkes; the two married on December 13, 1973 and went on to have two more children:  a daughter Cindy, and a son, Peter. Kathy and Henry raised their family in Watkinsville, GA.

Kathy was a homemaker while the kids were young and before entering the workforce again.  She spent many years at the University of Georgia School of Law, where her favorite goals were helping the students and participating in the Moot Court.  One of the quilts she made still hangs outside the Student Bar Association Office at the UGA Law School.

Kathy is preceded in death by her first husband, Lee, and parents, Joe and Reva Tipton.  She is survived by her husband of 46 years, Henry Burkes, daughter Susann Murray (Kevin), daughter Cindy Grier (Carl), and son Peter Burkes (Anita).  She is survived by her favorite people: her grandchildren Briggs, Alex, Avery, Olivia, Ellie, Ryan, and Tyler. Also surviving are her brothers Charles Tipton (Debbie), Barry Tipton (Sharla), and Joe LaDow (Susan), special cousins Susan Crawford (Joe) and Tommy Ledford (Ann), and numerous other cousins, nieces and nephews.  She also leaves behind her lifelong best friends, Mitzi Daniels Lafferty, Marsha Smith, and Shirley Bryant.  

Kathy was truly a wonderful wife, mother, and grandmother.  She was passionate about creating art in various mediums, gardening, and bird watching.  Her true art form was quilting. If you knew Kathy, you knew she was working on a quilt – and mostly likely multiple ones at the same time.  She loved to give her quilts away and anyone who knew her well was most likely blessed with one. She made a special themed quilt for each of her kids and grandkids for every birthday and Christmas.  It is so meaningful to have these quilts in her remembrance.  

Kathy will be remembered not only for her art, but most importantly for her sweetness and sense of humor.  During her long illness, she touched the lives and hearts of so many people with her grace in the face of a terrible disease.  Although she lost all movement of her body and eventually even her voice, she never lost her humor or her beautiful smile. She will continue to serve as an inspiration to all that she encountered for her strength and faith in the face of incredible adversity.  It would be impossible to thank all the family and friends that supported Kathy through her illness, but know that she treasured every phone call, visit, and prayer.

The family would like to thank Visiting Angels of Cleveland, GA for the care provided during the last years of her life.  We specially thank her primary caregiver, Chrystal Trent Kincaid, for her incredible love and devotion. We would also like to thank her death doula, Kecia Rey, for the tireless support provided to Kathy and to all of us.  We thank Pruitt Hospice; in particular, Sandy, Rick, and Nicole. You all made a huge impact on the quality of her life and death, as well as the comfort of the family.

A life celebration is planned from 1pm-6pm on January 11, 2020, at the family home in Watkinsville.  The invitation is open to anyone who knew Kathy and the family, and any wishing to attend may contact Susie at smurray@visitingangels.com or Cindy at ginessa3@hotmail.com for further details.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you donate in Kathy’s name to The Gleason Foundation or the charity of your choice.

Cleveland Funeral Home & Cremation Services are in charge of these arrangements. 

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