December 18, 2014

Thankful Thursday - My Father's Childhood Friend

As most of you know, my goal in establishing this blog was to capture the history of the "old families" from Sicily Island and surrounding communities.  Two of the old families were the Seal family and the Bourke family.

On Monday, December 15, I received word of the passing of Ouida Seal Bourke.

Ouida Seal Bourke - photograph by Amber Bourke Martin

Ouida was born on December 7, 1925 to the marriage of Alvin Lewis Seal and Olga Laura Knight. Her younger sisters were Juanita, Patsy Ann and Carolyn.

She and her sister, Juanita, were close friends of my father.  He spoke of them often with fond memories of their childhood growing up on the Island.

Ouida married Charles "Moe" Bourke who was the son of Elijah Bourke and Ida Mae Ford.  From this marriage five children were born; Linda, Becky, David, Jonnie and Glenn.

I met Ouida one time back in the fall of 1972 when my parents and I traveled to the Baton Rouge area for a high school football playoff game.  We stopped by her and Moe's house before the game for a short visit.

During the process of transcribing my father's cassette tapes made back in the early 1990s, I found story after story after story mentioning Ouida and Juanita.  Last year I found Ouida on Facebook and sent her a friend request.  We messaged back and forth several times and enjoyed discussing her (and my father's) memories of what Sicily Island was like back in the 1930s and 1940s.

She shared the following photograph with me and allowed me to include it in a post about Whitlock's Barbershop.

Whitlock's Barbershop - Courtesy of Ouida Seal Bourke

One of the last messages she left for me was about a recent trip I had made back home.  She said she wished we could visit in person and talk about her memories of my father and Sicily Island.

Although we never had the chance to visit in person, I am thankful for the opportunity I had to share some memories with one of my father's closest childhood friends.

From the online edition of The Advocate in Baton Rouge:
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant."  Matthew 25:21.
Ouida Seal Bourke, age 89, passed away at The Carpenter House on Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. She was born Dec. 7, 1925 in Sicily Island, LA and resided in Central, LA.  Ouida was a graduate of Sicily Island High School and LSU and was a member of Magnolia United Methodist Church and the Magnolia Methodist Ladies Prayer Group.  She loved to cook and enjoyed spending time with her family and friends.  
Ouida is survived by her five children, Linda DeLee and husband, Jimmy, Becky Watson and husband, Mike, David Bourke and wife, DeeDee, Jonnie Bourke, and Glenn Bourke and wife Allison; 13 grandchildren; and 21 great-grandchildren.  She is also survived by her sisters, Juanita Nolan and Carolyn Barbay; brother-in-law, Vernon Dennis; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Ouida was preceded in death by her husband of 62 years, Charles "Moe" Bourke; parents, Alvin and Olga Seal; and sister, Patsy Dennis.  
Visitation will be held at Magnolia United Methodist Church, Greenwell Springs, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 18 and from 10 a.m. until services at 12 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 19.

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