Francis H. Burke

23 August, 194213 April, 2021

Francis H. "Frank" Burke, of Fairview, NC and formerly of Western New York, entered into rest on April 13, 2021 at age 78. Beloved husband of Sylvia (nee Love) Burke; devoted father of Dr. Mark (Kate) Burke and the late Chad (Susan) Burke; cherished grandfather of Brenna, Ethan, Samantha, Riley, Corban, Teagan, Decklan, Rowan and Killian; adored great-grandfather of Lumi; loving son of the late Francis T. and Alice (nee Coyne) Burke; dear brother of Jack (late Barbara) Burke, Teresa (late Peter) Labushsky, Jerry (Debby) Burke and the late Bernard Burke; also survived by loving nieces and nephews.

Frank was born in North Tonawanda, NY on August 23, 1942. He served in the US Army from 1960-1963, and earned the honor of serving as a Green Beret with the 5th Special Forces as a medic in Vietnam.

Frank earned a Masters Degree in Physical Education from the University of Buffalo in 1971, was certified as an athletic trainer in 2000, and became a certified strength and conditioning specialist in 2004.

Frank taught physical education and coached football in the North Tonawanda School District from 1968-1998. He also ran the Memorial Pool in North Tonawanda for decades. He was elected to the North Tonawanda Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

Frank continued his career as a certified athletic trainer at The Asheville School in Asheville, NC from 2001 to 2015 and was awarded a special recognition award from The Asheville School in 2015. He then went on to work at the Christ School in Asheville, NC from 2015 to 2017.

Frank was a member of the National Education Association, the National Athletic Trainers Association, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a graveside service with military honors on Thursday, May 27, 2021 at 2pm at Western New York National Cemetery, 1254 Indian Falls Rd., Corfu, NY 14036.

Relatives and friends are also invited to an open house and reception honoring the lives of Frank and his son, Chad, on Saturday, May 29, 2021 from 12-5pm at the family's residence, 2621 West River Rd., Grand Island, NY 14072.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Frank's memory may be made to the Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM), 20 Twentieth St., Asheville, NC 28806 or online at, or the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island, NY 10306 or online at


  • Graveside Service with Military Honors

    Thursday, 27 May , 2021


  • A Celebration of the Lives of Frank and Chad Burke

    Saturday, 29 May , 2021


Francis H. Burke

have a memory or condolence to add?

Larry Schatz

25 May 2021

I had known Frank for only 3 ½ years and what a joy it was to have him as a neighbor. We bought in Southcliff shortly after Frank and Sylvia and became friends as we were transitioning from the New York City area.

Though this may sound silly to most, I had not lived in a house since I was a child. I say this because, after we moved in, I would watch what Frank did around his house and do the same thing around mine. When Frank cut his grass, I cut mine. When he fertilized, I did too.

The trouble began when I was out of synch with his schedule. I’d ask Frank if he thought I should cut my grass and, in his gracious way, he’d say, “no, it looks great.” After two weeks and 5” of growth, I’d ask Frank the same and he’d say the same…he had a great sense of humor and I learned when to cut my grass!

Frank also loved, and was loved by, the neighborhood canines. Our dog, Hudson, would see Frank from a front window and cry to go out. Once the door opened, he’d make a beeline right to Frank and Frank absolutely loved it…the look in his eyes gave it all away. If left to his own devices I truly believe Frank would have had a houseful of dogs.

One last comment about Frank: Genesee Beer…enough said…

Frank - Nancy, Hudson and I miss your warmth, wonderful conversation and your friendship. Be at peace, my neighbor….

Jill Borton Ogiba

22 May 2021

Frank, I first met you and Sylvia when I was in Junior and Senior High School when I babysat for Chad. I always thought of you both as an sister and brother. You both became another son and daughter to my parents. I remember Frank cutting wood with my Dad along with Frank’s dog Sam. I am sure my Dad was there to greet you with a warm loving hug. . I remember Frank having my Dad and brothers over to play cards. Frank always was positive and said kind words. Whenever I would hear anyone would speak regarding Frank, Mister Burke, Frankie, or Burkie, they always spoke about a wonderful person. I am so sorry for your loss Sylvia and Mark... and Frank you left a piece of heart in all of us. ‘Til we meet again...❤️

Ute Daly

20 May 2021

I met Sylvia when she visited Ireland on a tour in 2019, and what a wonderful person she is ❤ I learned about her husband who was too illl to travel, but Sylvia is one of the most adventurous souls I ever met, she decided to share her room with another adventurous lady traveller whom she never met before. I greatly admired her spirit open for new Departures, she is a beautiful person and one of my favourite ever people I had the pleasure of guiding on her trip to Ireland. I consider her to be my friend


18 May 2021

Fran was my friend. He coached my son. He was my teammate. He talked me into playing basketball after I quit when I was too old at 38. We played together for years. He always put the team first when he coached and when he played. He was an example of what a teacher, coach and teammate should be.
For all the young people he touched during his life, he demonstrated what "Best Effort" looks like. I observed his efforts as my teammate, as a teacher, and as a coach. I will miss him.

Lecky Haller

5 May 2021

Frank always had so much to say but in just a few words was able to convey a huge amount of wisdom with his wry sense of humor. I aways enjoyed standing on the sidelines with him at Football and Lacrosse games and on the mat at wrestling meets hoping to heck that our players would remember what we had taught them in practice! Frank was well loved by all of the students that walked into his training room as he skillfully readied them to get back on the field from an injury or prepare them for a game. He always knew the right thing to say, usually something like, "Awe, that's not so bad!". Thanks for all of that Frank! You were an icon and well remembered here at Asheville School! Lecky Haller

Heather Bower

4 May 2021

My deepest condolences to Sylvia & the entire Burke family. This takes all my tears. Frank was one of the greats! He truly was a great, honorable man who devoted his life to serve others. I would always look forward to seeing Frank at "The Game" - the much anticipated rival game b/w Christ School & Asheville School. Frank always met us with great enthusiasm & hospitality at any game or tournament. When I heard he was retiring, I asked if he would be interested in working a mini-football camp that summer at CS. He did & stayed on for other camps as well as two more years covering injuries for all sports. He loved the student-athletes. He would light up at football & cared just as much for the Greenies as he did for the Blues. When I was in agony on the ground with a severe injury, he cared for me too. I've always been so grateful he was there to help me in that terrible moment & shoulder my work load in addition to his to see me through. I know as long as I live, whenever I think of football and athletic training, I'll see Frank right out there on the field again.

Heather Bower
Christ School Athletic Training

"For momentary light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Karl Seidel

3 May 2021

My condolences to the Burke family.

Mr Burke was a great coach, teacher , and mentor. Thanks for your service to this great nation as a Special Forces medic ,and as a positive role model to so may people throughout your wonderful life Sir.

I would have never been able to have learned how to swim without your patience, and positive reinforcement at Memorial pool and Reszel Jr High. Thanks for the help in swimming and at times life's lessons.

It's because of positive role models like you, I also earned my Green Beret and had the privelege to serve for 20 + years in the US Army Special Forces.

Rest in peace Sir.

De Opresso Liber

Karl Seidel
3RD SFG ( A) US ARMY (Retired)

Southern Pines/Fort Bragg NC.

Peter Causer

2 May 2021

Frank, you were an incredible neighbor, friend and upstanding member of our community, you will be forever in the memory of us all in Stills Creek Loop. Your positive demeaner, smiling face and animated discussions made a huge impact on us all enlightening our days with your strength and experience.
We miss you and pray for you as a modest token for the joy you gave us all every day.

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Jesus is our hope. When we hope and have faith in Him, He renews our strength"

Peter, Alexandre and Lilly.

danny sharpe

25 April 2021

My family owns Biltmore Fitness in Asheville NC where Frank was a beloved member for 19 years. We are heartbroken and are so sorry for your loss. To say that Frank had an impact on so many members here over the years would be an understatement. He was truly loved and will be greatly missed. Another gym member and friend Chris Poulos has set up a small get together at Hi-Wire brewing behind the gym for 5/2/21 at 5pm so we can say a few words and have a toast to Frank. Anyone close that wants to attend is welcome. Godspeed to his family and know we consider our gym family a forever extension of yours. Much Love!

Mark Norris

22 April 2021

Was my jr varsity head coach. We went undefeated..he was my favorite coach. We played hard for him because we all liked him. Rest in peace Burkey.