We regrettably announce the passing of Bernard Andrew Burke, 88, of Newport, Vt. On March 2, 2021 he lost the battle with heart failure, despite his lengthy and courageous struggle.
Bernard is survived by his wife of 68 years, Geneva (Pelkey) Burke, His sons Randy (Linda) Burke, of Newport, Vt. and Ricky (Lisa) Burke, of Coventry, Vt. A sister, Jeannette Bell, her three daughters and extended families from the Rutland and surrounding area. Four devoted Grandchildren: Reilly Burke and his fiancée, Ashley Aldrich and daughter, Alyssa, of Coventry, Vt.; Reid Burke of Newport, Vt., Connor Burke and his fiancée Andreah Ovitt of Lyndonville, Katelyn Burke and her partner Sheamus Morrissey of Hinesburg, Vt.; Two Great Granddaughters, Eva Dee Burke of Lyndonville, Vt., and Hailey Morgan Burke of Williamsburg, Va. Additionally, leaving behind many special nieces, nephews, and cousins and his cherished lap companion, Munchkin(munchie), the family cat.
Bernard was born on May 19, 1932 to the late Lester and Delia (Ratti) Burke in Hancock, Vermont. Later the family relocated to the Newport area where he went to school and later graduated, from the then, Newport High School. He was an outstanding athlete and participated in baseball, basketball, and football which led to his recent induction into the Northeast Kingdom Sports Hall of Fame. Shortly after graduation and after his marriage to Geneva he began his military career. He served his country in the US Airforce during the Korean War as a military policeman. Entering the workforce, after his discharge, led him employment at the Cheese Factory in Troy, Vt., for a short period of time. He then started work for Bates and Murray Electric and began his career as an established Electrician. Venturing out on his own, he created his own business, Burke Electric, until his retirement. Upon retirement, a chance venture transpired into Burke Enterprise, where he distributed break-open tickets and bingo supplies until just a couple years ago.
Bernard held a lifetime membership to Newport Post 21 American Legion and also was Commander for many years. A lifetime member of the local VFW, member of local Elks Lodge and Eagles club. He was a sports enthusiast, serving as past liaison for local American Legion baseball and played the position of pitcher for Newport’s slow-pitch softball teams. He was an involved Father and Grandfather, trying never to miss any event they participated in. Professionally, he rooted for the New York Giants football and the Boston Red Sox baseball teams. He enjoyed hunting and brook trout fishing, and later on, Golf. One could find him on any given day at Newport Country Club with his pals Lester, Walt, and Ted.
One of Bernard’s finest attributes was his storytelling. He routinely started his day with a good cup of coffee at the then Miss Newport Diner, then the Brown Cow and more recently Little G’s. Seated with a family member or two, area folk, and an occasional passer-by, Bernard was with avid listeners. Conversations commonly entailed the latest sports statistics, memories of the Korean War and historical Newport, most importantly, his family. Bernard Burke was one of the last of Newport’s “Gentlemen”.
In staying with his deep-rooted love for sports and Newport’s history and In lieu of flowers, please consider donating IN THE MEMORY OF BERNARD BURKE, to the Gardner Park Grandstand Preservation Association Inc. Please send checks to: Joel Collins, Secretary, 398 Sias Avenue, Newport, Vt 05855.
As were Bernard’s wishes, there will be no calling hours or funeral service. A celebration BBQ for friends and family will be held at a later date when it will be safe to travel and get together. The family also invites you to visit awrfh.com to share your memories and condolences.