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Dec. 15, 1940 – June 2, 2014

Sister Sheila Anne Burke, the longtime principal at St. Mary’s Catholic School in Swormville, died Monday in St. Mary’s Convent, Swormville. She was 73.

Born Kathleen Burke, she attended Bishop O’Hern High School. Upon entering the Sisters of St. Francis, she became known as Sister Sheila Anne. She was a member of the order for 56 years.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Mount St. Joseph Teachers College, a master’s degree in religious education from Notre Dame Institute and state certifications in education and school administration and supervision from Plattsburgh State College.

She taught at various schools in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo from 1961 to 1979, including Infant of Prague and Our Lady Help of Christians, Cheektowaga; St. Mary’s, Lancaster; St. Leo the Great, Amherst; St. Christopher, Town of Tonawanda; and SS. Peter & Paul, Hamburg, where she was coordinator of religious education.

She was principal at St. Mary’s from 1979 to the time of her death. She initially said she intended to stay at the school for one year. Thirty-five years later, she was still principal and very much involved with the education and the lives of everyone at St. Mary’s School and parish community.

She is survived by two sisters, Eileen Lestition and Anne Creenan; and a brother, Timothy P.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Mary of the Angels Convent, 201 Reist St., Williamsville.