Nelva Jean (Allen) Burke
May 4, 1948 - September 3, 2022
Nelva Jean Burke passed on Saturday, September 3, 2022 after a long battle with health concerns. Born to Nelse Allen and Evie Jolley in Ferriday, Louisiana, Nelva graduated from Louisiana College with a degree in elementary education that would lead her to her life’s work of teaching. Never one to turn down an adventure, Nelva early in her working life managed department stores while traveling in her off time, spent some time working in traveling sales, and was even briefly commissioned as a Merchant Mariner aboard a vessel in the Caribbean despite a life-long deep fear of swimming. She settled into teaching in Houston, Texas in the 1980s, working in several schools for students experiencing hardship or special circumstances. She helped create a unique program in Houston to educate high school students on the importance of the Port of Houston before her family moved to Rockport in the 1990s. Nelva taught for many years in Aransas County schools, working at Fulton Learning Center, Rockport-Fulton Intermediate School, and Live Oak Elementary until her retirement. She deeply loved teaching and especially enjoyed teaching reading and helping students cultivate a love of literature and story-building. As part of her fierce advocacy for all of God’s children, she was a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer for many years during her career and after her retirement. With her own children, she was a 4-H volunteer leader, lending a secret culinary arts background to those attending her classes.
Nelva was preceded in death by her parents, sister Virgie L. Wilson, and former spouse Peter T. Burke and is survived by one brother Glenn N. Allen of Jena, LA, Nelva’s three children Meaghan (Joshua) Bihun, Liam (Melanie) Burke, and Eamon Burke, and her grandchildren Luka, Sara, Logan, Lily, Niall, Alexis, Norah, Phoebe, and Emilia.
Memorial service will be held at Charlie Marshall Funeral Home in Rockport, Texas at 10am on September 24, 2022 with graveside service to follow at Rockport Cemetery.