LOWVILLE – Richard E.
(Dick) Burke, 88, died on Wednesday evening, November 10, 2021 at
where he has been a patient since November 1st.
Richard was born
on November 25th 1932 at home on the family farm in the town
a son of the late William Edward and Helen Martha McDonald Burke. He was a
1950 Graduate of Lowville Academy where he participated in a variety of
school activities including football, basketball
and baseball. He may not have been one of the considered stars, but as he
aged, Dick recalled that his own memories rectified that problem.
Richard was born
posthumously one month following his father's accidental death. At the
time, his six siblings ranged in age from one to twelve years old. Helen
soon relocated her family to Lowville. The oldest child James began working
on a neighbor's farm. Despite Depression Era hardships, with grace and
fortitude, Helen was able to raise her seven children to graduate from high
school and beyond.
Richard briefly attended
Central City Business Institute. He then joined the U.S. Navy during the
Korean conflict in 1951. For four years he was assigned to The Naval
Security Group Headquarters in Washington D.C and NSG locations on Oahu, TerritoryOfHawaii.
On August 22nd 1953 he was married at St. Peter's Church
in Lowville, Monsignor John A Cotter officiating to Florence Mary Bickford,
his high school Sweetheart. Florence
(Flo) then joined Richard for the remaining two years of Naval service.
Their sixty four year marriage was a blessed and
happy one. Florence
preceded him in death on November
In addition to
his wife and parents, Richard was preceded in death by his siblings James,
Gladys Lynch, Beatrice Ptak, Doris Wallace, John and Frank. Also by his
beloved granddaughter Angela Burke. He is survived by his four children,
Kathleen Burke Barker, Michael Burke, Andrew Burke, Susan Burke Stamber and her husband Eric. Also
by seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Knowledge’s and skills
attained by Dick while on assignments with The Naval Security Group led
directly to an additional 33 years as a Civilian employee at the National
Security headquarters, Fort George G Meade, Maryland. He was justifiably
proud that the combined 37 Years began at the same time the NSA was formed
to provide critical information to U.S. decision makers and the
Armed Services in defense of our Nation. As an Administrative Management
staff officer at increasingly higher Agency operational echelons, he always
knew that his personal efforts contributed significantly to the National
Security Agency's mission. He was cited many times for outstanding
performance and received many other awards. In 1976 he was presented an NSA
Security Award by the Agency Director Lieutenant General Lew Allen, U.S.
Air Force. Dick's mother Helen was proudly in attendance that day. In 1979
Dick received a personal thank you letter from Major General George
McFadden for "excellent personal - effort on my behalf". The
General was departing NSA on a new assignment and singled out several staff
members he considered most deserving of such praise.
After his 1988
retirement from NSA Dick became a delivery contractor at Landmark
Publishing Company of Westminster,
MD. 25 years later, at age
80, he decided that 70 years working should be enough. Various Lowville
employers had started him off at age ten.
interests were wide ranging which led him wherever he was located to
actively participate in various "extra curricular"
pursuits. In 1999, Dick enlisted Maryland's
Pearce Publishers to assist him to self publish a
book he had authored "You Can Call Me Irish". A trip to Ireland
3 years earlier was hisinspiration to trace his all
Irish ancestors from ancient Ireland to present day America.
Dick wrote many
articles over many years which were published in a number
of publications including the AdirondackMountain
Sun and the Journal and Republican.
When the WheatonMaryland
formed the Wheaton Boys Club in the 1960’s Mr. Burke was one of its first
Little League Baseball Managers. He continued coaching for several years.
Also in Maryland he was a
lead singer with the Old Line Statesmen Barbershop Chorus which staged
various shows and was once invited to sing the National Anthem at a
Baltimore Oriole Seattle Mariner baseball game.
He belongs to the
Phoenix Society (people long associated with the U.S. Intelligence
Community), Dick was a member of the Elks in Maryland and remains a member in good
standing in Lowville's BPO
Elks Lodge. He is also an American Legion Post # 162 member. He belonged to
the Lewis County Historical Society as well. He also continued to play
various sports for many years to include softball, golf and yes, pool
shooter. Dick's memories of these activities are perhaps too recent for him
to be elevated to stardom. It could still happen.
Richard was a
communicant of St. Peter’s Catholic Church where a funeral Mass will be
said on Wednesday, November 17th at with Rev. Scott A. Belina, Pastor officiating. Burial will follow with
military honors in WestLowvilleRuralCemetery. Calling
hours will be on Tuesday, November 16th from to at the Sundquist Funeral Home.
In addition to
the words above written by Dick, his family and friends would like to share
that he was a kind, funny, intelligent and loving
man. His faith in God and his commitment to his family never faltered. He
loved making a personal connection with everyone he met and as such touched
the lives of many.
He was truly one
of a kind and will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.