obit template2018-11-29T12:10:12+00:00

Mary Louise

Through the life of Mary Burac we learn that happiness isn’t found in the accumulation of wealth or possessions or through the praise and recognition of others, but that it is through loving others that we are richly blessed. Mary devoted her life to caring for her husband and children, and she considered it both her highest calling and her greatest blessing to do so. Mary’s tender touch extended to others within her reach as well as she seized every opportunity to send a kind sentiment, make a sweet treat, or to offer a warm smile. We will never forget her true beauty, her generous spirit, and her graceful strength.

The decade of the 1920s was a time of respite between the perils of war WWI and the hardship of the Great Depression throughout the thirties. The year 1927 witnessed Charles Lindbergh pilot his Spirit of St. Louis from New York City to Paris in the first solo transatlantic flight while work began on Mount Rushmore. Also during this time we said goodbye to the silent film era with the opening of The Jazz Singer and witnessed the peak of Broadway, too. It was during this vibrant time in America that a young family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was preparing for the birth of their new baby. Their wait was over when Mary Louise made her arrival on February 24, 1927, and she was welcomed into the arms of her parents, Francis and Carrie (Malarik) LeFevre. Mary was the younger of two children in her family joining her older sister, Bonita “Bonnie.” Her father was of Indian and French Canadian descent while her mother had Bohemian roots.

As the prosperity of the twenties gave way to the trials of the Great Depression, the LeFevre family was among the countless American families to feel the effects. Food was just enough to get by and meat was a rarity, and there was no money for material possessions either. Mary was especially close with her father, and she always treasured the walks they took together. At times she enjoyed hanging out in Washington Park listening to swing music during the forties. As a teen Mary frequently visited Hoyt Pool to go swimming with friends.

After graduating from high school Mary worked as a switchboard operator at International Harvester. It was during this time that Mary went on a blind date and met a young man named Eugene Burac. They ate their first dinner together at La Choy Chinese Restaurnat. Mary and Eugene fell in love and married on October 22, 1949. Together they were blessed with “seven wonders:” Jim, Lynn, Tom, Laurie, Scott, Leslie, and Steve.

Being a mother seemed to be a role that was tailor made for Mary as she fully grasped the enormity of the task. She was selfless in everything she did as she effortlessly put the needs of her family ahead of her own. Even when Mary was not feeling well she continued taking care of her family while trying to stay in tip top shape at the same time. She was actively involved in the lives of her children, and could often be seen being silly and having fun with them. Mary spoiled her family with her baked goods that were as pleasing to the eye as they were to the palette. Her Christmas cookies looked like they could have jumped right off the page from the Betty Crocker Cookbook she was using, and her poppy seed torte was second to none. Although Mary’s baking skills were unmatched, everyone always preferred Eugene’s cooking!

Mary’s and Eugene’s relationship of 40 years ended with Eugene’s death, February 8, 1988. Mary continued her work as a switchboard operator, working for four years at J.C. Penney at Southridge Mall and then for fifteen years at St. Luke’s Hospital. With a passion for both history and traveling, Mary saw much of the world satiating both loves simultaneously. She traveled to Austria and especially enjoyed seeing Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ouray, Colorado, and Silverton, Colorado. Mary also fully appreciated the peace and serenity of the Sandia and Rocky Mountains, and she liked being called “Ma Gringo” as it was her way of remaining connected to the areas of the country she enjoyed so much.

Throughout her life Mary was a woman with her own set of unique traits and interests. First and foremost in her life was always her family, but Mary also treasured her church and her Democratic Presidents including Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. In fact, those who knew Mary knew they better not ever utter a bad word about J.F.K. She was a proud democrat who stood strong on the things she believed in. Mary was articulate and expressive, and she mastered the art of communicating on paper whether it was a note to a family member or friend or a written response to something she read or heard on the news that she wanted to express an opinion about.

The list of things we will miss about Mary Burac is long and includes things such as her devotion to her family, her strong moral convictions, and her great sense of humor. She lived life to the fullest and loved spreading her unending joy through her kind words, her fantastic baked goods, or even a great prank. The memories Mary leaves behind will remain forever near and dear to the hearts of many.

Mary Louise Burac died on August 16, 2011. Mary’s family includes her children, Jim Burac, Lynn (Brad) Buchanan, Tom (Evelyn) Burac, Laurie (Dave) Barwick, Scott (Lou La Sota) Burac, Leslie (Wayne) Edmark, and Steve (Cori Molloy) Burac; grandchildren, Tara and Ryan Burac, Kristen and Seth Buchanan, Adam, Jacob, Kara, and Jordan Burac, Erik and Matthew Barwick, Conner and Garett Edmark and Zac Burac; 5 adorable great-grandchildren, Natalie, Jeremiah, Matthew, Kendal and Braun; and many nieces and nephews, other relatives, and friends. Mary was preceded in death by her husband, Eugene Burac and her sister, Bonnie Chenow. Visitation will be held Friday, Aug 19, 2011 at Jackson Park Lutheran Church, 4535 W. Oklahoma Ave. Milwaukee, WI from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Funeral Services 12:30 p.m. with Pastor Fred Breitfeld officiating at 12:30 p.m. Interment Wisconsin Memorial Park. Arrangements provided by Suminski LifeStory Funeral Homes, Niemann / Suminski. Please visit where you can leave a memory or sign the online guestbook.

Past Comments

Kristen Meza

When I was asked to write down some memories of my Grandma Mary, I was taken back to the times when I was a child. One tradition that I am sure most of the grandchildren remember was her made up game called “Icka Bicka Soda Cracker”. It consisted of us holding out our fists and grandma would recite the song over and over until one wins. We all knew that her bottom dresser drawer was filled with prizes that she generously gave to each winner. Another memory was during the 4th of July. I remember gathering with the family at grandma’s house, and we would all play games and watch the Jackson park fireworks. When we visited grandma, we usually went out to eat. One of her favorite restaurants was Old Country Buffet, she would always mention to my mom to eat her beets. I will never forget her love for French fries. Ever since I was little grandma would always finish off my left over fries from my kid’s meal. It was funny to hear my own children comment about how grandma would help them finish their fries too. Her favorite cookie was molasses. Thanks to the sleepovers, it is now my favorite cookie too. Grandma always had something to give away. I can’t remember leaving grandma’s house without carrying something in my hands.

Laurie Barwick

When we were younger, Sunday’s became a family night at the movies. After dinner & dishes were cleared, washed & put away, somebody would make a big kettle of popcorn. We would all try to find a spot to get comfortable, be it sitting with mom on the sofa or somewhere sprawled out on the floor.

It was time for “The Wonderful World of Disney”, Yeah!!! The little black & white TV would be turned on, and then – oh no, “It’s Lawrence Welk and his orchestra”. Now we’d have to wait another half hour.

That show was one of her favorites & she still enjoyed watching him in reruns for many years. Although she was never able to get me or anyone else to appreciate his music, she had more luck with the old Hollywood movies. She would often say, “That’s when they knew how to act and write”. Sometimes we watch one together or just talk about our favorites & she had quite a few.

I too still enjoy the oldies but as of now I still can’t convince my boys to watch one with me, but after many years, Dave can finally agree that some are really good.

Tom & Ev Burac

Each of our (now adult) children have fond memories of Grandma Mary that they wanted to share.

From Jake:

Always greeting her cards with xoxo; $2.00 Bills and lottery tickets.

From both Adam & Jake:

Bus rides with Grandma to the stores or mall.

From Kara:

“She always had candy in a candy jar when we’d come over to visit and we always took her to Old Country Buffet”.

From Jordan:

“Grandma made an effort to come to see me in as many high school & college plays as she could. She especially liked the musicals”.

Steve Burac

There are many memories, moments, and thoughts that I could share having time spent with my mother. I’ll share the one of me being around the age of 4 or 5 years old and waking up in the morning with my siblings already gone off onto school.

I loved oatmeal! Mom would prepare it with my choice of raisins, cream, or white sugar. I did it all…yummy! And there were those extra special days when mom would allow me to add her colored baking sugars…Blue, red, green and yellow. I believe thats when I found out that mixing blue and yellow made the color green. Cool!


Gathering up all 7 children into the family station wagon could not have been an easy task. But once in, mom would take a head count. Sometimes she would have to start over due to us being loud and /or moving around too much, trying to get comfortable. Sure enough, one day the parents left one behind and we had to go back and get the “little rascal”. After that, Mom went to the roll call method and we had to verbally respond “Here”. She never left one behind again. We joked about it later how she forgot only 1 child one time during our younger years, but yet she would always end the conversation with “I still can’t believe I left that child behind”. Well, as most Mothers will say ” I love all my kids the same and I don’t have a favorite”, But the majority consensus is, that on that one day she started favoring that “little rascal” AND HE KNOWS WHO HE IS !!!!!!

Sheree (Kuehl) Clauer

Aunt Mary, or better known by the way she signed her cards “Tia Mary”, was a very special lady and always treated me as if a member of her imidiate family, even though we would often go literally YEARS without seeing one another. She offered comforting “motherly” advice when I first became a mom myself. I guess she had a LITTLE experience in that area!!! She greeted every birth of my children with a greeting card and warm expressions of good wishes for all, as well as other moments and holidays. I remember her always having a smile and she must have been a wonderful mother because I have always loved those 7 children she raised! Rest in the Lord’s peace, Tia Mary.



Tom Burac

Memories back when I was in grade school was how mom & dad always tried to get to sports activities such as basketball, and to join the activities I would have to walk all the way to Sacred Heart from Franklin. We only had one car and dad often worked Saturdays. One Saturday, like normal, I had to walk to school in the morning to make it to a game. I got there 5 minutes late and the coaches left with the team just before I got there. Knowing the ‘old school coach’, Mr. Adams, I knew that by missing the game I would probably be kicked off the team. Sure enough I got the call that I was off the team. Then my mom got on the phone and really tore into him about all my dedication walking to practices and games to catch rides to games. Sure enough, come Monday at school, the coach said I was back on the team.

Ev Burac

In 1976 Tom brought me to meet his folks, Gene and Mary, in a townhouse on Howard Ave. I can still picture Mary in that kitchen just finishing the clean-up from a meal when I asked her how she’d prefer that I address her (i.e.: Mrs. Burac). She responded with “Mary or Ma Kettle if you’d like!”. Her quick wit immediately put me at ease for which I was forever grateful.

Ruth Anne Kryscio Buhl

After many years of living way too far away from the Kryscio family, I was so happy to connect with Mary again when she came out to New Mexico on the train with my mother. That visit confirmed that this woman was someone who just loved being around children. She was so excited to meet my children, and we spent lots of time reviewing the lives of her children and grandchildren. Thank you, Mary, for showing your old babysitter how much joy there is in the role of a mother.

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