It is with much sadness that we announce the passing of Richard Arthur Burke on August 7, 2023. He was united with his beloved Julia (Judy) Burke who earned her heavenly wings on June 8, 2023. Their 59th wedding anniversary would have been August 14, 2023.
Richard was born on January 13, 1943, in Corpus Christi, Texas to Fred Francis Burke, Jr. and Lillian Maddon Burke. When he was just a few months old his father was called up by the U.S. Army to serve our country during World War II. With three small children, Richard's mother moved the family to Okemah, Oklahoma to be near her family while he was deployed. After military service ended, the family moved to Corpus Christi where his father found work at the local Ford agency.
Richard graduated from Roy Miller High School and subsequently attended Del Mar College. He and Julia then moved to Houston, Texas. During this time, Richard joined the Texas National Guard and attended boot camp in El Paso, Texas. It was while in Houston that Richard began his lifelong career as a draftsman, later designing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for major projects including numerous schools and commercial developments. He truly enjoyed the work, trying (and failing!) to retire several times.
In the late 1990s Richard and Julia returned to the Corpus Christi area, making their forever home in Portland, Texas. The location was perfect - Corpus Christi Bay was just a block away from their backyard gate - conveniently situated for a walk to the bay for wade fishing. This was one of Richard's favorite places. He always knew when the fishing forecast was good, but not before checking the Vector tables first. Many friends joined him on these fishing mornings, both boating and wading. Another of his favorite places to relax was at Corpus Christi Lake with his childhood friend Wayne Howerton. During this friendship that lasted throughout their lives, countless stories were shared, and miles of trot lines were baited for catfish. They also enjoyed many weekends of deer hunting.
Richard was an active longtime member of First United Methodist Church in Portland, Texas. Daily Bible readings were very important to him, as well as Wednesday Bible study gatherings with cherished church friends. He helped with Build-a-Home, a ministry of First United Methodist Church - homes that were partially constructed in Portland and which were completed in the Rio Grande Valley. He also was a good-hearted volunteer at the Salvation Army Portland Unit food bank, assisting with unloading supplies on Mondays.
Richard and Julia enjoyed traveling, covering the United States from coast to coast as well as Mexico. A particular favorite of theirs was Haines, Alaska, where they enjoyed the amazing scenery and wildlife.
All their numerous dogs were considered "their children" or "the girls" - especially a very personable dog named Pebbles whom our entire family loved.
Richard is preceded in death by his mother, Lillian Burke, father Fred Burke, Jr., brother Robert Wayne Burke, and wife Julia Burke. He is survived by his sister Loretta Burke Jahn and his sister-in-law Elizabeth (Liz) Burke, brother- and sister-in-law Edward and Helene Gafford, and numerous beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church, Portland, Texas, or to a charity of one's choice.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church, Portland, Texas, 4545 Wildcat Dr, Portland, Texas, on September 30th at 2 pm. Following the service, a reception will be held at the church fellowship hall.