Deborah Washburn Burke, 82, of Warren, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home on November 12, 2020. Born December 29, 1937, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to the late James and Ellen (Powell) Washburn, she grew up in western Massachusetts. She graduated as valedictorian in her Miss Hall's School Class of 1955.

Deborah graduated as an English major from Cornell University in 1959. Always intellectually curious, she developed many personal relationships with renown scholars who recognized her sharp wit and gracious personality. Upon graduation from Cornell, she received an M.A. in English from Columbia University and began her professional career in the communications department of IBM, where she was promoted rapidly in that department, supervising many employees.

When Deborah was asked to move in her job from New York City, she decided to pursue her own interest in photography which she cultivated for many years because she could combine her love for nature and wildlife with her passion for travel and interacting with people from many cultures. She spent much time in Africa filming exotic animals close up. Deborah's photographs appeared in many national and international publications, including National Geographic.

Deborah traveled extensively in Europe and spent long periods of time in Paris and other French communities where she could utilize her French fluency and mingle with other gifted artists and photographers. Deborah's warm personality and intelligence overcame many obstacles as she enjoyed personal and long-lasting relationships with numerous people from many counties and walks of life.

Deborah met James E. Burke, her future husband, at Cornell. On May 30,1970, Deborah married James. Together they enjoyed skiing, gardening, traveling reading and socializing with many and diverse friends. Deborah loved their Warren home.

Deborah is survived by her loving husband, James of Warren. Following her wishes, there will be no formal funeral service. Arrangements are in the care of Perkins-Parker Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Waterbury. To send online condolences visit