LAURIUM — June “Ducky” Diane Louise (Phillips) Burich, 92, slipped into eternal life at home, under the care of her youngest daughter Antonia, during comforting prayer with Antonia and one of our close friends, Donna Bausano, on Sunday, September 27, 2020, at 11:23 a.m., with confirmation pronouncing 12:06 p.m. (Thank you Father Gracious Pulimoottil, Dr. Bonnie Hafeman and Aspirus Hospice Nurse Rebecca and all involved. Your constant interaction and support throughout were/are appreciated.)
June was born June 29, 1928, in a house on Scott Street in Red Jacket, Michigan, which is now known as Calumet, to the late William and Caroline (Gillette) Phillips. The family moved to Laurium when June was 1 year old, the village where she continued to live until her death.
Also preceding her in death were five sisters; Caroline Shaltz (whom had a twin sister who died at birth named Victoria Phillips), Jean Lander, Virginia Phillips and Kathleen Blau. June’s husband Anton A. “Tony” died at Home January 17, 2010 (age 81). June’s one and only favorite son in law Dennis Fritcher passed away at his home in the state of Indiana unexpectedly July 21, 2019 (age 68). June and Anton’s oldest son Myles A.M. Burich passed away at his home in the state of Washington unexpectedly on the 10th anniversary date of his father Anton’s passing, January 17, 2020 (age 64). June grieved in her “little boy” passing away of which her heart never recovered. June also grieved the loss of her oldest niece Carol (Lander) Rosemergy whom passed away on July 22, 2020 (age 73).
June is survived by her children Colleen Fritcher, Craig Burich, Blake Burich, Kent Burich and Antonia Burich. Her daughter in laws; Rose, Sue, Lori and Deneen. Her two foster daughters Theresa (Ball) Meyers-Green and Carol Koski. Her 300 plus shelter home children including Holly (Kinnunen)Bianco, due to privacy we are not able to name them all. Every one she considered her child and loved us all equally.
June is also survived by her grandchildren; Angelique (Ben), Jesse (Amanda), Tiffany (Aaron), Eric (Brook), Brian, Tristin (Matthew) (Eric/Gretchen), Jeremy (Laura), Donovan (Sarah), Dustin, Kyle (Paige), Tyler, Erica (Joe) and Cody. Great grandchildren; Aurora, (Christopher), Orion, Jeremy (Cheyanne), Michael, Emily, Sarah, Bradley, Zackary, Sean, Olivia L., Becky, Hawk, Bryton, Ariebella, Olivia N., Gwendolyn, McKenna, Hadassah, Declan, Emalyn, Sophia, Dustin Jr., Kane, Karsen, Mason, Anthony, Jagger, Colin and one to be born any day now. June is further survived by her pride and joy great-great grandchildren Annabel and Elaina, as well as numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
June attended local schools including John Duncan, Charles Briggs, Washington Middle and Calumet High School where she graduated in 1946, continuing to live the class motto of “A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.” June had so many special friends, to name them would be as to name all the stars in the universe (know you all hold special meaning with prayers and love forever.)
June played second baseman on the Waarala Drug softball team, where she was known as a stellar player, making many double plays in her career. Unfortunately, her softball career ended tragically, while trying to “steal” an extra base, she collided with the opposite team shortstop and her kneecap split in half and splintered.
June worked various jobs as a teenager on into her adult life including; Columbia Laundry where she folded and packaged Ford Motor Company towels, Ben Franklin Department store where she was a register clerk, People’s Theatre where she worked as ticket taker and popcorn girl (this is where she met Anton), after graduating she worked as a telephone switchboard operator for Michigan Bell Telephone Company for 15 years in the Calumet Central office.
June married the love of her life on April 21, 1951, in Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (Anton was in the Army).
After starting a family of their own, at the time of five children, June talked with her husband about taking in preschoolers. Her husband backed her decision and together they signed up to be Foster parents, as he continued his many jobs outside of the home as well. The very first child she was asked to care for was a six month old baby with Down’s syndrome. She did not hesitate, yet cared for over 25 years of all children presented to her between the ages of three days old right up to a child turning 18. (For more information you may read some articles written by Graham Jaehnig, local historian/writer, The Daily Mining Gazette printed Tueday, Dec. 10, 2019, through Friday, Dec. 13, 2019.)
In her prime, June was known as “Mother Teresa of Laurium.” One would think June would have no time for anything else, well you’re about to see, she didn’t stop there. June was actively involved everywhere, including but not limited to; June was raised a Methodist, and learned her books of the Bible in the Baptist Church. She attended the Roman Catholic Church and knew this is where she belonged. On October 20, 1960 (that’s 60 years ago this month). June was confirmed into the Roman Catholic Church and was a firm believer and shared her faith and religion openly and was proud to have been able to be a religion teacher for over 40 years at the Sacred Heart Church in Calumet. June also was a high supporter/promoter of the cause for sainthood to now venerable Bishop Baraga for over 60 years, as well as the founder of the Bishop Baraga Birthday Club to whom she shared her birthday.
June was a member of: the Keweenaw Catholic Community, National Catholic Society of Foresters Sacred Heart Court No. 517 and the CLK VFW Auxiliary Post 3900 over 50 years, Daughters of Isabella, Fraternal Order of Eagles Auxiliary, Slovenian Union of America, CLK Senior Citizens, life member Keweenaw Kernewek, Bell retiree group, multiple prayer groups, co-founder/member United Hearts of Jesus & Mary Rosary Group and the Keweenaw Catholic Pro-life & Family Council, as well as other pro-life groups, served on Laurium Village Council, active politically and in community affairs, did many volunteer years of different work in the CLK Public and Sacred Heart Central Schools, RCIA, choir, communion minister, lector, Renew Evangelization projects, on Parish Council, MDCCW, America needs Fatima, EWTN, The Passionists, Houghton Keweenaw County Genealogical Society, Keweenaw County Historical Society, Presentation Ministries (of which she handed out every other month the two month daily prayer One Bread One Body booklets), Keweenaw Cooperative Enterprises, American Free Press, and a proud Trump supporter from day one, always a true lover, if one did not agree with her, she just left it as a “we agree to disagree” conversation, and loved everyone equally as God loves.
If anyone would like to share stories/memories, that can be freely shared, may write and send to Antonia Burich P.O. Box 735 Laurium, MI 49913. In lieu of flowers or foods at this time consider monetary donations toward a cemetery legacy stone for June, these contributions can be sent to the same address.
Please keep us all in your daily prayers and pray for the pandemic to end, along with the repose of June’s soul. Thank you and God bless with love to all, June will not be forgotten, for she has prepared a path for us. Amen.
Funeral Mass will take place 11 a.m. Tuesday, October 20, 2020, starting with public patriotic rosary prayer 10 a.m., at the Sacred Heart Church in Calumet. Father Gracious to officiate. Ryan Funeral home is assisting with arrangements.