In Memory

Janelle Stueck (Burke)

a dedicated advocate for social justice long before she became a social worker, died unexpectedly but peacefully while visiting family in California. Janelle leaves behind grieving family members, friends, and co-workers, among whom are her husband of 28 years, Dr. Michael A. Burke, and niece/"daughter," Maryl F. Burke, both of Knoxville; her father, James A. Stueck; and stepmother Sarah Belle Keene, of Santa Maria, CA; brother, James D. "Butch" Stueck; sister-in-law Dr. Mickey Brady Stueck; and niece Chantel Lewis of Moorpark, CA; nephew, Thomas A. Stueck; his wife Gennifer; and their three children, Nashville, TN; mother-in-law Gwen Burke, of Knoxville; brothers-in-law Rusty Burke and wife Shelly Wischhusen, of Washington, D.C., and Kelly Burke and wife Mary Ann, of Warner Robins, GA; and sisters-in-law Sharon Monett of Knoxville and Kathy Burke of Lenoir City. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and other relatives by birth and by marriage in California, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Georgia. Janelle often acknowledged that she was blessed with an abundance of close, loving, fun-loving, and sympathetic family members and friends, who are too numerous to list, but you know who you are. Janelle moved to Knoxville from her native southern California in 1979. She loved her adopted homeland and never ceased to marvel at all of the shades of green during spring and summer. Janelle loved being surrounded by beautiful plants, wild birds, her cats and dogs, and good friends, perhaps with a glass of wine in hand. She loved planting bright, happy flowers in her garden every spring. Janelle received her B.A. from Whittier College in Whittier, CA. She started working with children at Riverbend School in 1981. She fell in love with the children and the work, which meshed so well with her commitment to children's welfare and social justice that she returned to school and earned a Master's of Social Work (MSW) from UT Knoxville, and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In addition to her job at Riverbend, Janelle worked as a social worker at Dialysis Clinic, Inc., Community Action Committee, and, since 2001, the Tennessee School for the Deaf. Janelle was diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of nine, and lived for 51 years with the disease. She was proud to be a 50-Year Medalist at the Joslin Diabetes Center, and participated as a research subject there in 2011. Anyone who knew Janelle cannot think of her without thinking of Winnie the Pooh, whose childlike joy and profound yet simple insights had been a lifelong inspiration to her. She very much took on Pooh's outlook on life, taking joy in the simple things in life and responding to life's little upsets with "Oh, bother!" Janelle had a great sense of humor, joy, and wonder. She also had a keen intellect, loved the English language, and music. She was fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), and enjoyed signing along when friends would gather to play music. Janelle loved to travel, both in the U.S. and abroad. Janelle was an active member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, and joyfully worked with the Stephen Ministry, children's worship, and stage productions.