Joan Carol Burke-Taylor, the happiest woman in the history of Connecticut, passed away peacefully at Danbury Hospital, just shy of her 67th birthday, on December 10th, 2020. Joni was a ray of sunshine in human form and spent no longer than thirty seconds angry, sad, or even slightly perturbed. Everyone who came into contact with Joni was happier for the encounter—except perhaps, momentarily, those who were passengers in her vehicle over the years and may have seen their lives flash before their eyes.
Although not a skilled driver, she was talented and passionate sewer and quilter, and leaves behind beautiful quilts, pillows, and decorations for her loved ones to cherish. She had a penchant for history, classic movies, and a superhuman memory when it came to old-time song lyrics. No matter the occasion, Joan was guaranteed to provide several witty retorts, a ridiculous dance move, song performance, or some other shenanigan. Known to her family as “Schmo” and “Fountain Eyes” in her youth, Joni Burke was born in Danbury in 1953, the youngest of four children born to Marita Burke (née Delohery) and Thomas Burke. Joan attended New Fairfield elementary schools, Danbury High, and finally Southern Connecticut State University, home of the hooty-hoot owls, where she earned her Bachelor’s and Master of Science degrees. Before she became a full-time quilter as a retiree, Joan led a successful, joyous career as a special education teacher for thirty-six years in the Danbury Public School System. She held her students close to her heart, and gave them the same kindness, love, and merriment she gifted her family and friends. Joan was a proud Irish-American Catholic and Connecticutian. She spent her happiest days in New Fairfield, Sherman, and Kilkee, County Clare, near Kilballyowen, “from whence she came,” as Joan would often say.
She leaves behind too many broken hearts to count, including and especially her husband of thirty-three years, Joseph Daniel Taylor of Sherman, daughter Colleen Burke Taylor, and son Daniel Morrissey Taylor. Joan is also survived by her older brother Patrick Burke, sister-in-law Wendy Burke, niece and goddaughter Katie Rose Burke, beloved cousins James and Cynthia Burke and Susan Delohery-Magersuppe, as well as Sean Delohery, Stephen Burke, sister-in-law Nancy Taylor, nieces and nephews Meghan Magersuppe-Stabile, Brian Burke, Erin Delohery-Michaud, Brendan Delohery, and Brett Pond.
She will always have an international fanbase of friends in Connecticut, New York, and Ireland. But now, she joins her much-loved and missed sister, Mary Burke, brother Tommy Burke, and her parents in the next life’s party, where she is sure to contribute strong gin cocktails.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Danbury Hospital’s Praxair Cancer Center and mention Dr. Kloss, known to Joan as “her hero,” who helped her defy the odds of stage four metastatic breast cancer for eight years. As with everything else, Joan was a special case and evinced the power of positivity in her battle with what she called “the big casino.”
A private, family service will begin with a viewing at Danbury Memorial on her birthday, December 18th, at 9 am, followed by mass at Holy Trinity Church and burial at New Fairfield Mountain View Cemetery. A public, large, and appropriately jubilant celebration of life in honor of Joan is guaranteed once pandemic regulations allow. In the meantime, please share a memory on the tribute wall here: stories, love, and especially laughs recalling Joan. The bright charisma of Joni Burke Taylor was shared and loved by many, and her remembrance must equal the scope and reach of her infectious, adored personality. Please raise your glass to Joan, the most golden spirit we ever knew.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joan (Joni) Burke Taylor, please visit our floral store.
Praxair Cancer Center
95 Locust Ave, Danbury CT 06810