Gloucester — Ralph G. Burke, 81, of Gloucester, husband of the late, Ruth A. (Gill) Burke, passed away on September 11, 2012 in the Seacoast Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, with his loving family at his side.
Ralph was born in Gloucester, on December 7, 1930, the son of the late William and Ella (Furniss) Burke.
A graduate of Gloucester High School with the Class of 1949, he continued his education at Boston University earning his BA as an English Major. Ralph led a very full life. While in high school he was twice recognized in a National writing contest. He studied in The Language Center in Washington D.C. being very proficient in Russian, French and Spanish, before serving proudly as a member of the United States Army, in Hokkaido, Japan, doing intelligence work during the Korean War.
He was an avid vegetable and flower gardener, an accomplished cook, a history buff, loved the Gloucester Symphony and had an extensive library and was an aficionado of literature and classical music. Nothing pleased him more than visiting and vacationing in the Lakes Region and the White Mountains area of New Hampshire. Ralph was an active member of the United Methodist Church in Riverdale and sang in their choir as a team member and also as a soloist. He was a social worker for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and taught a writing course at Salem State College.
He is survived by his daughter, Debra Mann and her husband Dr. Neil Mann; a granddaughter, Leah Joelle Mann, all of Gloucester; a grandson, Dustin Joseph and his wife Michele of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; special cousins, Diane Sperry and Ronald Fleet; special friends, Brien and Lisa Riley, Lucy and Peter Lawson, Jeanette Lattoff and Tom Harvey, all of Gloucester, and Rev. Montjane. His buddy and companion, his calico cat, Cali, will miss him terribly. He was predeceased by his brothers, Norman and Richard Burke, and his sister-in-law Betty and her husband Arthur Salo.
Very special thanks go out to the choir group from his church, who serenaded him in Seacoast quite recently. Special thanks go out, as well to the wonderful nurses and aides in the Seacoast Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Bayside floor, for the great care and kindnesses that was bestowed on him and his family during his stay there. Also, thanks to the nurses and staff of Steele 1 in Addison Gilbert Hospital for their gentle care and kindness.
ARRANGEMENTS: There are no visiting hours. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 11 a.m. in the United Methodist Church in Riverdale. Family and friends are cordially invited. His burial will be held privately.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his memory to: Hospice of the North Shore, 75 Sylvan St. Suite 102-B, Danvers, MA 01923. Online condolences may be given at www.greelyfuneralhome.com.