Debra Burke

Debra S. Burke, 68, of Waukon passed away Saturday, April 8, 2023 surrounded by her loving family at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, MN. A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, April 15 at 11:30 a.m. at Zion United Church of Christ (UCC) in Waukon with Rev. Cathy Jurgens officiating. Friends may greet the family from 9:30 a.m. until the time of services Saturday at the church. Martin-Grau Funeral Home in Waukon is handling arrangements.

Debra Sue Burke was born March 2, 1955 at Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon, the daughter of Clinton Dale and Lorna Jean (Hermeier) Winters. She was baptized and confirmed at Zion United Church of Christ in Waukon and grew up on her family’s farm in Waterville. She attended Waterville Elementary School, graduated from Waukon High School in 1973, and received her degree from Western Technical College in La Crosse, WI.

While she and her husband, Randy Burke, originally met in high school and shared many friends, the two didn’t connect again until years later in La Crosse, WI. They began dating and married May 23, 1981 at Zion UCC. After marriage, Randy and Debbie welcomed a daughter, Kelly, before relocating from St. Paul, MN back to northern Iowa.

The couple settled in Garner for 27 years, where Debbie worked as a bookkeeper, until she ultimately retired to pursue her love of woodworking, furniture restoration and reupholstery. After Randy retired in 2018, they returned to their hometown of Waukon.

Debbie was an avid seamstress who loved to sew and alter clothing. As a teen, her work was featured at the Iowa State Fair. She enjoyed flowers, plants and working in her garden. She and Randy enjoyed fishing together on Clear Lake, watching the ever-present wildlife on their acreage, and going on rides in their Ranger and Dodge Super Bee - a car she only let Randy buy due to its unique purple color. Debbie enjoyed spending time with her longtime friends, especially cherishing their annual get-togethers.

Debbie is survived by her husband of 42 years, Randy Burke of Waukon; her daughter, Kelly Burke of Oak Park, IL; her brother, Jim (Mary) Winters of Waukon; her nephews: Tim (Patti) Winters of Chapel Hill, NC and their children, Elliott and Honor, and Steve Winters of Durango, CO; her mother-in-law, Mary Ann Burke of Waukon; her sister-in-law, Cindy (Steve) Iverson of Waukon; two brothers-in-law: Rick (Katie) Burke of Forest City and Reggie (Amy) Burke of Wapello, along with their children and grandchildren; and her Yorkshire terrier, Lacey. She was preceded in death by both her parents; her father-in-law, Raymond Burke; and some of her very closest friends.

Cards of condolence can be mailed to Randy Burke at 551 Rodayo Drive, Waukon, IA 52172, or sent online at