Francis H. Burke

August 23, 1942April 13, 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


27 May

Graveside Service with Military Honors

2:00 pm

Western New York National Cemetery

1254 Indian Church Rd.
Corfu, NY 14036

29 May

A Celebration of the Lives of Frank and Chad Burke

12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Family's Residence

2621 West River Rd.
Grand Island, NY 14072


Francis H. Burke

have a memory or condolence to add?

Lecky Haller

May 5, 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

May 4, 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

May 3, 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

May 2, 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

April 25, 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

April 22, 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.

Gary Zalewski

April 21, 2021

Great coach, great man! I will always remember my time playing football with Coach Burke! 87’ Rezel Roadrunners undefeated 5-0! RIP coach.

Fred Adcock

April 19, 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.

Kevin Reimers

April 19, 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

David Cavanaugh

April 18, 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.