Francis H. Burke
23 August, 1942 – 13 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 www.abccm.org, or the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, 2361 Hylan Blvd., Staten Island, NY 10306 or online at tunnel2towers.org.
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?ADD A MEMORY
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...❤️
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.
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
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.
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
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
3RD SFG ( A) US ARMY (Retired)
Southern Pines/Fort Bragg NC.
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.
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!
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.
21 April 2021
Great coach, great man! I will always remember my time playing football with Coach Burke! 87’ Rezel Roadrunners undefeated 5-0! RIP coach.
19 April 2021
My sincere condolences go out the Burke family during this time of great loss. I was fortunate to have had Fran as a teacher, coach, and later as a colleague. The professionalism and dedication he showed toward his students and players influenced me greatly. His gift of teaching fundamentals of football and other athletic activities was truly a benefit to all his students, and I applied many of his techniques to my own coaching and teaching. I am most grateful for his service with the U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam. Fran will be greatly missed and always remembered.
19 April 2021
So sorry for the Burke family. Mr. Burke is a great man. He was a mentor and role model to many young people in the North Tonawanda School district. He has touched so many lives as a teacher and coach. He will be greatly missed! God Speed!
The Reimers Family
18 April 2021
I remember playing on the Reszel Jr. High Football team, and practicing outdoors during a fall snow. I was freezing and Mr. Burke was in his shorts, like he was at the beach on sunny summer day.
I am a better person today because I was taught, coached and mentored by "Mister Burke". He was a great role model for kids that grew up North Tonawanda. I hope that I can make half the impact on others lives as Mr. Burke was able to do. Rest in Peace.
18 April 2021
I was saddened to learn of Fran's death. He was an incredible man and teacher. I was honored to teach with him at Reszel.
18 April 2021
My deepest condolences to Mrs Burke, Mark and family. I can literally count on one hand the people who influenced my life the most...guiding me, teaching me and always having time for me. Mr Burke was one of those early in my life when I needed it the most. In fact, because of Mr Burke and my father (also a US Army, Vietnam Veteran) I chose to dedicate my life to serving my country and my fellow Veterans for 25+ years. I remember my brother telling me in a letter, when I was deployed, that Mr Burke asked about me and how I was doing on that deployment. When you’re far away from home that kind of thing means the world. I have a million stories in my mind as I type. I wish I could share them all. Mr Burke was a great man and so very special to so many people. The world was a better place because of men like Mr Burke.
18 April 2021
He will always be mr Burke too me !He was my teacher my coach and mentor!! When ever I needed someone too turn too he was there for me! When I was in junior high school I would walk too his house where he would give me a ride to school every day and talk about everything from football too just life itself He got me into weight lifting where he would push me every day! It’s because of him that I still too this day Work out the same way I did 46 years ago . There isn’t a month that goes by when I’m lifting that I can still hear him telling me you can be better!! Love that man like my own father! You will be missed coach!!!!
18 April 2021
It's because of great men like you that we live in a free country. When this country called you selected the most difficult of jobs, a Special Forces Medic. We have talked a few times over the years, but I wear my Green Beret each day because great men like you have set the example for others to follow. I will forever be in your debt as you taught me early and often what a good Soldier should be. A final slow salute to you my brother in arms!
CSM Sean Arnts
1st Special Forces Group (Airborne)
"100 men will test today, but only 3 win the Green Beret!"
17 April 2021
I have fond memories of Mr. Burke the 3 years he was my gym teacher and as the head coach of the Reszel Jr High Football team.
17 April 2021
Mr. Burke, you were a great teacher, coach and a mentor to myself. You treated all your students the same. And when I suffered a severe injury in football you were there seeing me in the hospital throughout my stay.
Thank you for being a mentor, coach, a new a dedicated teacher, you have touched so many people in the lives
17 April 2021
Sylvia, Mark and the rest of Frankie’s family , my deepest condolences to you. What can you say about a guy who was a major inspiration in so many lives. Here was a man that never had a bad word about anybody, but instead lifted them to reach their ultimate potential. Personally to me, he was a coach, teacher, friend and most importantly a role model that I would try to emulate throughout my life.... There aren’t enough words that I can say that would do justice to such a great man that molded some many lives... all I can say is “ I love you BURKIE” and can’t wait to play pinochle and drink Genny and tell stories of all the good old days.. GOD BLESS YOU
17 April 2021
Coach Burke was a great man . He got me interested in football while he was my PE teacher in Middle School then I was lucky to have him as a coach, he tought me so much about football and life. I can still hear him say this during practice. You think it's hot? it's a hundred degrees and 100% humidity in Tuscaloosa now that's hot.You boys got it easy!
Rest easy Coach
16 April 2021
Sylvia, I am so sorry to read this obituary, but what a wonderful life your Frank had. He seemed to bring out the very best in people. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Sally
16 April 2021
Mr. Burke and he will always be Mister Burke to me. He was a great coach, mentor and friend. He would praise you when you did something good and kick you in the rump when you did something stupid. This was true not only on the field but also in your personal life. Mr. Burke might be gone but never forgotten. God bless him and his family.