Of St Paul, MN died April 24, 2021 from multiple cancers. Rynn (nee´ Kathleen Ann), age 60, grew up in Needham and Pocassett, MA. A brilliant internist, Rynn was also board certified in Pediatrics, Hospice and Palliative Care, and as a medical specialist in HIV. She adored making diverse connections and empowering patients.
A survivor of severe child abuse, Rynn fought neuroendocrine carcinoma since age 18, breast cancer, and finally myeloma. Initially she was a Pediatric ICU nurse at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. In 2002, during her double residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, she was wheelchair bound due to spinal cord compression from a spine tumor.
In addition to being trained in Western medicine, Rynn was an herbalist and Native American healer. She was spiritually involved with her Wiccan community and the Oglala Lakota who named her Pabani Wakan when she was critically ill in 1978.
Rynn leaves behind her beloved wife of 25 years, Elizabeth Ellen Gilles, MD, dear friends Jean Anderson, Cheryl Gomsey, Laurie Rose and John Hersey, sister Lyudmila Islyamova and daughter Maritza Esquivel Garcia.
She is survived by her daughter Kelsey Marie Burke-Simpson, father William T Burke, brothers William L Burke and Robert A Burke, loving sisters-in-law Deb, Jeanne and Suzie, Gilles in-laws, amazing nephews and nieces, and numerous Reilly and Burke cousins, aunts and uncles.
Her second family provided lifelong belonging: Jean Anderson, Ellen Anderson, Marie Anderson, Mindy and Jay Pasco-Anderson, Andrew and Jamie Anderson, and Katie and Pierre Olivier.
Rynn credits her joy and survival to the immense love and support she received from numerous close friends, nurses, and colleagues.
She inspires us to fight fiercely for love. Mitakuye oyasin, we are all one family.
Saturday May 22, 2021 family and friends will gather to celebrate Rynn’s life at Willwerscheid Funeral Home, 235 Wentworth Ave. W., West St Paul, MN 55118. Visitation at 1 pm CDT and service at 2 pm CDT.
Friends and family wishing to attend virtually may do so at https://afterword.com/stories/rynn-burke
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are welcomed to Save the Children or The Nature Conservancy.