July 26, 1950 ~ July 25, 2022

Born in: Dundalk, MD
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Dr. Margaret Ober Burke, age 71, of Asheville, peacefully died on July 25, 2022 with her family at her side, just one day before her birthday.

She was born in Dundalk, MD to Wilbur “Bill” Ober Jr, and Elizabeth Julia Hussey Ober on July 26, 1950, the 2nd of 5 children. She was raised in Dundalk, Falston, and Bel Air MD, and graduated with honors from Bel Air High School’s Class of 1968. She briefly attended Washington College on academic scholarship before marrying Harry Smith Burke in 1969. Her children Jennifer and Daniel Burke were born prior to her return to school. Margaret graduated from Harford Community College while working as a Histologist in Chestertown Md, and then moved on to graduate from Washington College. At 31 years old, she pursued her dream of becoming a doctor. She was accepted to the University of Maryland medical school, and then completed her residency at Ohio State University in 1989 before moving to Asheville. Thoms Rehab Hospital (now Care Partners) hired her, and she earned the title of Chief of Staff.

Since she took pride in spending the most time with her patients, she decided it wasn’t in her best interest to run an entire hospital, so she went into private practice at Mountain Neuro, and Carolina Spine & Neurosurgery. As a Board Certified Physiatrist, Dr. Burke took pride in understanding and spending the maximum amount of time available with her patients to carefully recover from spinal cord injuries, trauma, stroke, MS, and brain injuries. She was a true pioneer of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and successfully worked to curb many patient’s use of prescription pain-relieving narcotics, and excelled in making people stronger, healthier and less dependent. She retired from full time medicine in 2017, and served as a Buncombe County Medical Examiner. She also served on the board of directors of Liberty Corners Enterprises.

In her spare time, Margaret enjoyed spending time with her family, reading, cooking, crafting, gardening, crossword puzzles, traveling, camping, and she loved her dogs. She had a strong passion for music, and could have performed as a concert-quality pianist! She was a true advocate for women’s rights and led by example to empower people to reach their dreams. Margaret was an amazing, kind, smart, strong woman, who touched many lives and will be greatly missed by her family, friends, and all who knew her, but she left this world a better place.

Unfortunately Margaret’s brilliant mind was compromised by a devastating diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s Disease.

Margaret is survived by her husband, Harry Smith Burke, children, Jen and Dan, and her sister, Anne (Jon) Englebach of Marion, NC, and brother Robert (Rose) Ober of Aberdeen, MD. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her sister Kathleen P. Ober Bulmash, and brother Christopher Russell Ober. She is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A celebration of life service will be held at Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian in Arden on Thursday, August 4 at 2pm.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Margaret’s name can be made to Liberty Corners Enterprises, a non-profit organization she helped that provides support and services to people with disabilities in Western North Carolina.


Celebration of Life: August 4, 2022 2:00 pm

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


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  1. So very sorry for your loss. I worked with Margaret for a time a Thoms/CarePartners. She made such an impact in her patients’ lives.

  2. Was blessed to have known Margaret from our years together in school in Bel Air, Maryland. From then until her death, she used her many talents to help others and to make the world a better place. May she Rest In Peace.

  3. I am so sorry to hear this news. I worked with Dr. Burke at Thoms Rehab/CarePartners. She was wonderful to work with and a wonderful physician. She truly made a difference in her patients’ lives. Prayers for Smith and the entire family.

  4. Sorry to hear of Dr.Burke’s passing.She was a wonderful and sweet lady. I so glad I had the pleasure of knowing her.

  5. Having worked with Margaret at Thoms and also afterwards once she was in private practice, this news saddens me. She was driven by all the right things in her work…and also had a sense of humor that was much appreciated in the workplace! Condolences to the family. She’ll be missed…

  6. So sorry to hear of Dr. Burke’s passing. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Burke for many years at Carolina Spine. She was a very warm, compassionate and gentle soul. All her patients just loved her and so did I. She will be missed. My condolences to the family. 💜

  7. Dr. Burke was a treasure and will be greatly missed! As a former board member at Thoms/Carepartners, I saw first hand the wonderful work she did with her patients.

  8. I worked with Dr. Burke decades ago at Thoms Rehabilitation Hospital. An exceptional person and physician. My condolences to her family.

  9. I met Dr. Burke on her last day at Carolina Spine. I had suffered from a hip ailment for seven years. My primary Dr. unable to help had sent me to an Arthritis Dr, A Bone & Joint Dr, before sending me to Carolina Spine. On my own I had tried Chiropractors and even Acupuncture. In less that ten minutes she correctly diagnosed my issue. I told her was now my favorite doctor. She laughed and hugged me, then told me it was her last day at work she was retiring. After a year of PT and Pool Therapy, steroid shots, I had surgery to fuse my sacroiliac joint on my left hip. I thank Dr. Burke everyday for correctly diagnosing my problem after so many others had failed and for my now pain free, ability to walk normal life. My first and only time with her, literally changed my life. I am saddened by her death, and offer my condolences to her family along with a side note of knowing there have to be hundreds if not thousands of people out there who lives she changed who will be forever grateful.


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