Mothers Day Special Ep w/ Grandma Lainey (Elaine Burke)

Living a full life, beginnings of Trek Bicycle, 10k steps a day at age 91 and more.

Mothers Day Special Ep w/ Grandma Lainey (Elaine Burke)

Living a full life, beginnings of Trek Bicycle, 10k steps a day at age 91 and more.

In celebration of Mother’s Day I got to have my 91 year old grandmother Lainey Burke on this weeks episode. 

In this quick episode we covered the following topics: 

  • Growing up in Madison 
  • Attending Marquette University as one of twelve women in the business school 
  • The beginnings of Trek Bicycle 
  • Flower arranging & a show coming to Milwaukee 
  • Living a full life 

Milwaukee Uncut is produced by Story Mark Studios, in partnership with OnMilwaukee and presented by Nicolet Law and Central Standard Distillery. 


Lainey Burke: He came home all excited because on the plane he talked to the guy sitting next to him and this guy was in the bicycle business and he needed money and I said, Oh, here we go again.

Richie Burke: Hey everyone, welcome back to Milwaukee Uncut produced right in the heart of Walker’s Point by Story Mark Studios in partnership with On Milwaukee and presented by Nicolet Law, the Midwest law firm in central Standard distillery.

Speaking of Graham Mulaney and I had a nice brandy, old fashion, a canned brandy, old fashion that central standard didn’t collaboration with wine and Kugel’s. I know I’ve talked about those on the show before those are good. And I saw that they just released their bomb pop ready pour. So make sure to check that out.

I have not tried it yet, but it looks delicious central standard and also a shout out to Nicolet Law. Bre and I were coming back from Minneapolis. This week and stopped in Hudson, Wisconsin, where Nikola is headquartered out of had a nice beer, actually. I had two beers at the smiling moose in Hudson with Cassie at Nikola.

And then we bombarded Russell who was working late in his office. The guy is more than just a pretty cartoon on a billboard. Russell was working, working late over at Nikola law. So thanks to central standard Nikola law for their support. This is a very special episode to me. Got to have. My favorite person in the world.

My 91 year old grandmother, Elaine Burke on the podcast. She is a mother of five children. She’s the matriarch of Trek bicycle. She was there right at the beginning. She’s one of the early women to graduate from the Marquette business school. She’s had a career hole in one. That’s one more than me, very philanthropic.

I mean, one of my favorite things selfishly about her is she responds to all of our company newsletters. Like it’s a personal email to her and I get a nice encouraging response. So she’s, she’s a, she’s a fan and I, I really appreciate that. And just a, an amazing human being who’s lived a very full life.

And it was in honor to have her drop down in the studio and highlight her story. Today so happy mother’s day to everyone. I hope you enjoy this. You have an amazing life story. You grew up in in madison you know, quite a long time ago. Can you talk about what it, what it was like growing up in, in Madison?

Lainey Burke: Well, I thought of Madison as a great city to grow up in. Lots of good, interesting places and so forth. And I got, I got a fascinating job there. And all was well.

Richie Burke: It was kind of a strict household, right?

Lainey Burke: Out of a strict household, right. Huh.

Richie Burke: I know when we did the documentary on you, I believe your, your dad told you that women don’t go to college.

They work in, in offices, but you, you took a different path.

Lainey Burke: Well, he did say that and so I went to Marquette and then I graduated and worked in an office.

Richie Burke: What was it like going to Marquette in the 50s?

Lainey Burke: It was a great, I was in a biz ad class, and there were out of 200 students in biz ad at that point. There are only 12 women. And so it was a great time.

Richie Burke: Then you met your future husband, Dick Burke, the big guy. Yes.

Lainey Burke: We had a good time. Good college.

Richie Burke: I heard when he was dating you, he actually started showing up to the library. That was probably good for him because he didn’t pass by much.

Lainey Burke: He was, he’s just not doing very well academically until he spent more time in the library. Let’s put it that way.

Richie Burke: So you got, you got, you basically got him through, through college.

Lainey Burke: I don’t know as I got him through, he would never have agreed about that.

Richie Burke: After you both graduated, I believe you got married right away.

Lainey Burke: And we got married right away, but then we lived in Peoria, Illinois, and we just stayed there for a year.

And then we moved to, he went to, he was employed by Mott’s paint in Madison. And so we moved back to Madison very happily. Happily, of course, in my mind. And I worked at Oscar Meyer and had a great time there. And so I had some babies and all was well.

Richie Burke: And then did you move to Tosa when you had kids?

Lainey Burke: Yes, huh. Yes, we lived in Tosa until we moved out to, to a house on the lake because Dick couldn’t take any vacation, he felt, and so that was his way of celebrating with family.

Richie Burke: And you moved out to Beaver Lake. Yes, you had one of the nicer houses on beaver lake and now you have the least expensive house on beaver lake.

Lainey Burke: It was a we we we took a cottage and made it into a full time house on beaver lake.

Richie Burke: When grandpa was so he was working at at roth And then roth distributing and then the president passed away and The employees chose to buy into the company, correct? And you had to take a loan from both of your parents in order to do that, which was risky at the time.

Lainey Burke: Yes, yes. We did that. And every month I diligently paid off the loan until it was for, until it was all paid off.

Richie Burke: So I remember you, you finally paid the loan off after five or six years and then he Got back from a trip and wanted to get into the bicycle business and put more money into it.

Lainey Burke: Yeah.

Yes. So my attitude when he he Dick when it was traveling and he came home all excited. Why was he excited? Because on the plane, he, he talked to the guy sitting next to him. And this guy was in the. business. He owned a bicycle company and, and he needed money. And I said, Oh, here we go again. I could just, we had paid off our loan originally.

And so yes, here we went again. And have, and got in the bicycle business and I paid it off every month.

Richie Burke: Who would you say was the best behaved out of the older kids? Kathy, Mary, or JB? Ha, ha, ha,

Lainey Burke: ha. Now, I know what I’m supposed to say here. You’re supposed to tell the truth on the podcast. Ha, ha, ha, ha.

They each had their enduring qualities.

Richie Burke: Is it true that, or do you believe that I mean, Mary filed a complaint on the video we did that when you left money, when you went out of town for them to get food, JB just took it and spent it on beer. Ha ha

Lainey Burke: ha. That could have been. Ha ha ha.

Richie Burke: I heard they were a big fan of your cooking.

Lainey Burke: Really? Now that surprises me. Ha, ha, ha, ha. I never considered myself in that direction. Ha,

Richie Burke: ha, ha. J. V. said when you were eating on the, on the back patio in the summer that, ha, ha.

Lainey Burke: I do remember that.

Richie Burke: That when you went inside, they’d toss it off the deck.

Lainey Burke: I do remember that.

And, and I didn’t catch on to it either. No, no, you did not, did not catch on. Totally naive. What

Richie Burke: were your views on JB’s parenting? Style growing up when I was growing up, you know, he

Lainey Burke: When he was growing up or you were growing up

Richie Burke: when I when I was growing up Great guy got a little fired up at times. I think he had two technical fouls in the middle school basketball league Put me through the quote unquote bobby knight school of driving Were those recommendations from you?

I probably

Lainey Burke: no I was gonna say You’re teaching me things right now that I can smile and enjoy.

Richie Burke: You’re enjoying that? I had to go through the Bobby Knight school of driving?

Lainey Burke: No, no. With him. No, no.

Richie Burke: We have had a lot of good times together. Just wanted to get your thoughts on that. Can you talk about your gardening?

Accolades. How did you get into it? You’ve been all over the world. You’ve judged competitions.

Lainey Burke: Well, it’s not so much gardening as it is flower arranging. Excuse me. It’s plant. So I, I’m a flower arranging judge. And yes, I have traveled around the world, both to see flower shows and participate in some. And I was at a That’s what I was doing today, was going to a meeting regarding a big flower show.

We’re going to have a worldwide flower show here in Milwaukee on September, September 9th people will be coming from all over to do flower arrangements and show their horticulture. all these things and to view these things. And so it’s open to the public. And we have speakers coming from all over.

And it’s just really. Good big event for Milwaukee.

Richie Burke: Where is it?

Lainey Burke: It’s at this, this is going to be at St. John’s, which is a senior center. And it has two big halls for speakers and for social events, dinners, and it has wide halls and lots of viewing spaces, which is. Just gorgeous. We’ve had it at places like at Harley and lots of other places in town.

We think this will be really special and nice.

Richie Burke: You’re a proud St. John’s part time resident. Yes. Did you make this happen there?

Lainey Burke: Yes. So I am on the committee.

Richie Burke: What what’s your favorite kind of flower?

Lainey Burke: Oh, I can’t even say anything that’s blooming beautifully or has a good shape to it.

Richie Burke: What a great outlook on life, and I would like to talk about your fitness.

Did you do some Pilates this morning?

Lainey Burke: Yes, I did Pilates this morning.

Richie Burke: How many steps are we up to?

Lainey Burke: Well, my, I like to do 10, 000 steps, but that’s in the summer when it’s nice outside and I can see and so forth. So during the winter, I don’t do quite as many.

Richie Burke: Just the inspiration over there.

Lainey Burke: All right.

Whatever you call it.

Richie Burke: You’ve lived such an amazing life. Any, any advice to others who would like to live a,

Lainey Burke: I don’t know if I could impart anything, but I just have been very blessed in so many ways. And I, I enjoy it. I’m very blessed, very lucky.

Richie Burke: I think your voicemail tells people to enjoy their day. Do you want to speak on that at all?

Lainey Burke: That says it all. And I’ve been very blessed with my family and so many good things.

Richie Burke: Thanks for tuning into Milwaukee Uncut. If you would like to support the show, please subscribe. If you have not already, write a review and share with your friends that all helps us get more ears on this content. And just a reminder that Milwaukee Uncut is produced in the heart of Walker’s Point by Story Mark Studios in partnership with OnMilwaukee and presented by Nicolet Law and Central Standard Distillery.