Barbara J. Burke

Barbara J. Burke

  • Funeral Date: Date Pending
  • Date of Birth: 7/10/51
  • Date of Death: 3/20/17
  • Funeral Location:

Northfield author, and international consultant, Barbara Burke, passed away peacefully on Monday, March 20, 2017. She was in her favorite place, her adored little home and had family by her side. She understood the impermanence of life and the need to let go of things we cannot change, which she demonstrated with the utmost grace during a short (and, sadly, even too great for her fierce spirit) battle with illness. Barbara was 65.

Barbara Jean Roster was born July 10, 1951, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Wendell and Patricia (Lynch) Roster. She graduated from Highland Park High School in St. Paul and then attended the University of Minnesota-Morris. Following college, she lived in Cambridge, Rosemont and Burnsville, which is where she began her consulting firm, Barbara Burke & Associates. It celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2016. In 1995, she moved to Northfield.
Barbara loved the town with vigor and gave unstintingly to her community’s nonprofit organizations. Her local impact can be seen with the naming of the Contented Cow, work with the Historical Society, as well as and her part of the formation of the Buddhist Meditation Center in Northfield. For several years she headed the board of directors of Riverwalk Market Fair, and was instrumental in its continued success.

Barbara was an engaging and talented personality with a powerful Buddhist practice. She truly lived her beliefs, having built a business that reflected her core spiritual values of embracing change and living fearlessly. In doing so, she helped thousands of people be better at work and at life. She never considered herself a writer, but she created two entertaining modern fables whose mindfulness messages supported her consulting work: The Napkin, the Melon & the Monkey: How to Be Happy & Successful by Simply Changing Your Mind, and the second book The Monkey, the Moon & Maybe: How to Embrace Change & Live Fearlessly. Barbara traveled extensively consulting customer contact centers helping to implement strategies for a customer-centric and engaged staff for clients such as: Lands’ End, Honeywell, Zappos, Target, Microsoft and Estee’ Lauder.

She loved to travel, and particularly enjoyed trips with her sister to Paris, and visits to her daughter’s farm in North Carolina. She loved the beauty of nature, and cultivated a spectacular and lush cottage garden at her beloved house (which attracted much admiration from neighbors and passers by). She is survived by her daughter Megan Fluegel (fiancé Ray Bell) of Bakersville, NC, a brother, Tom (Ellen Carmody) Roster of Northfield, and a sister Susan (Stephen) Fotos of Mechanicsburg, PA. She was preceded in death by her parents. A celebration of her spirit and love for her community will be announced later in the spring for the unveiling of a special bench along the river in downtown Northfield.. Barbara will be deeply missed. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Northfield Buddhist Meditation Center, the Humane Society, or the Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

One comment

  1. Elaine Lambert

    I wanted to express my heartfelt condolences to Barbara’s family. There’s such a sense of helplessness when someone we love dies. I’d like to share some scriptural thoughts that really helps me. Prayer is so valuable at this time but it’s not that prayer simply makes us feel better. 2 Cor.4:7 says that God can give us, “… power beyond what is normal “, to go from one day to the next. This does not mean that we no longer cry or that we forget, but it means we recover. The reason we recover is because of our hope. Jesus Christ talked about our hope in John 5:28, “… all those in the memorial tomb will hear his voice and come out “. Jesus was referring to the resurrection, this is our amazing hope! 2 Cor.1:3 describes our Creator as, “… the God of all comfort “. One way that God comforts us is by moving people who care about us to give us words of encouragement that we need to hear. May the God of comfort (Ps.83:18) be your comfort now during this time of sorrow.