Robert “Bob” Burke, 87, of Hamilton, passed away peacefully on Monday, November 27, 2017 at Hamilton Continuing Care, as hauntingly beautiful Irish music played close by and loved ones were present.
Born in Trenton, and was raised in West Trenton before moving to Hamilton Township in 1957. He was a graduate of Trenton Central High School and Rider College. Bob was self-employed as a Real Estate Broker and owner of Maguire Burke Agency in Hamilton for over 50 years. His love of his work made the business also his hobby, and he had often said he intended never to retire.
He had been a member of the Elmwood Social Club, American Business Club, Elks, Hibernian Society and Hamilton Partnership.
Predeceased by his parents, Thomas Edmund and Jessie Decker Burke; his brothers, Thomas, William and wife, Jeanne, and James; his sister, Anne Jones and her husband, Robert; his beloved daughter, Claire Colleen; his son-in-law, Jeremy Preston and his brother-in-law, William Orrick; he is survived by his wife of 65 years, Helen (Selzer) Burke; his children, Virginia Burke Preston of Doylestown, PA, Daniel Burke and spouse, John Mackin, of Ewing, and Christopher Burke of Brooklyn, NY; his son-in-law, Charles “Chip” Bloche of Arlington, MA; his daughter-in-law, Roberta Staats of Brooklyn, NY; his grandchildren, Zoe and Max Burke, Carey and Brendan Preston, and Eva and Griffin Bloche; his sister, Jane and husband, Al, Carnegie; his sisters-in-law, Honey Burke, Kathryn Orrick and Penny Hendrickson and her husband, Lee; and several nieces and nephews.
Bob had a wonderful Irish wit and great sense of humor, which brought to all the years of family togetherness endless mirth and laughter. A love of travel he instilled in his children and the trips to St. Thomas, the Caribbean and those to Ireland provide beautiful memories, watching televised football games, and at times creating an uproar from “his sofa” in his enthusiasm for a favorite team. Most important of all was the family time spent during fifty summers and holidays at the big old home at the Jersey shore. This gave him joy beyond words. His children and grandchildren watched in amazement when he body-surfed in the ocean comparing him to a torpedo!
He was thrilled with the arrival of the first grandchild and eventually five more followed. When this family numbered sixteen, beach time and dinners at the long oak table were most gratifying to him. He often cooked weekend breakfasts of delicious, whole grain, fluffy pancakes or fruit scones, sometimes treating the supper group to clam chowder or clam sauce over linguini.
His generosity took many forms. Many charitable organizations benefitted from his very large heart. Bob will be greatly missed by all who have loved him. May he rest in peace.
His family wishes to express out deep gratitude to his devoted friends who faithfully visited right up to the end. His beloved pal, George from long ago, high school football day, always planted a kiss atop his head before leaving. Jim, who often brought him fresh fruit until he could no longer swallow it. Ted, who reminisced about their years as business friends and sometimes succeeded in bringing a smile to Bob’s face. Jack, who came with his big Irish smile, his humor, and his talk of times shared in years past.
Many thanks to Diane Hurley at Hamilton Continuing Care Center, Deacon Bill Wilson and Father Michael McClain of St. Gregory the Great RC Church who made possible his confirmation.
At Hamilton Continuing Care Center there were those among his personal caregivers who went far beyond the required duties to be kind to him. Their friendly words made his days more pleasant and they often received a wink in return. Those in the housekeeping department brought sunshine on dreary days, his nurse manager and those under her were the best. Having daily contact with most of the long list of departments, it can be said they were very competent and friendly. Stepping into the lobby each morning and being greeted by a smiling receptionist was a nice way to start the day. Thank you so much Hamilton Continuing Care Center.
Memorial gathering for family and friends will be held on Friday, December 8, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 9, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. A memorial service will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the Saul Colonial Home, 3795 Nottingham Way, Hamilton Square, NJ. Burial services will be private.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Bob’s memory to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital or Shriners Hospitals for Children by visiting: https://www.stjude.org/donate/holiday.html?sc_icid=wtg-mm-promocards and https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc