John Francis Burke, 89, of Bethany Beach, Del., passed away peacefully on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, with his family at his side. He was born on June 3, 1929, to Martin and Nora Burke, who immigrated to the United States from County Galway in Ireland. He was a native Washingtonian, raised in Woodley Park, in Washington, D.C.
Burke graduated from St. Thomas the Apostle Elementary in 1942, from Gonzaga High School in 1946 and from Georgetown undergraduate in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954 and in 1958 graduated from Georgetown Law on the G.I. Bill. From 1954 to 1958, he was a law clerk in the U.S. District Court for District of Columbia. He then went on to serve as law clerk for the Hon. Edward Tamm, U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, from 1958 to 1960.
He practiced law for more than 50 years, beginning with Keough, Carey & Costello in Washington, D.C., in 1960. In 1969, he joined the law firm of Bulman, Goldstein, Feld & Dunie. In 1979, he was made partner of Bulman, Dunie, Burke & Feld, where he remained until he stopped actively practicing law in 2010.
Over his long career, Burke served the professional community in many ways, including as a member of the Review Board of the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission (now the Attorney Peer Review Committee); chairman of the Family Law Section of the Montgomery County (Md.) Bar; chairman of the Professionalism & Quality of Life Committee; chairman of the Domestic Relations Committee of Montgomery County; co-founder of the Voluntary Arbitration Committee of the Montgomery County Bar; co-chair of the Mentor/Mentee Committee; and co-chair of the Montgomery County Bar.
Burke supervised the preparation of the Code of Civility for Montgomery County, Md., which was adopted by the state, as well as many other county bar associations. He also provided pro-bono services for people experiencing domestic violence.
Over his lifetime, Burke was an active parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle in Washington, D.C.; Christ the King in Silver Spring, Md., where he was a founding member; Our Lady of Lourdes in Bethesda, Md.; and Saint Ann’s in Bethany Beach, Del. He and his wife, Joanne, were both active in civil-rights events, including bringing their children to the Poor Peoples March on Washington in 1968. He also enjoyed sports and was a loyal fan of the Washington Nationals (and Senators), Washington Redskins and Georgetown Hoyas.
Burke was preceded in death by his sister, Ann Burke. He is survived by his wife of 68 years Joanne (Yarnall) Burke of Cumberland, Md.; his sister, Mary Burke Brown; his children, Ann Connor, Joan Rubertone and her husband, Mark, John and his wife, Julie, Martin and his wife, Kathleen, Cecilia D’Orazio and her husband, Richard; 14 grandchildren, Louis King and his spouse, Asiah, Katherine O’Neill and her husband, Colin, Kevin Connor, Vincent and Cecelia Rubertone, John Burke and his wife, Laura, Bridget Burke Florsic and her husband, Filip, Martin, Katherine and Colin Burke, and Matthew, Elizabeth, Andrew and Joseph D’Orazio; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial Mass will take place on Saturday, March, 16, 2018, at 2 p.m. at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kensington, Md. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center or Delaware Hospice. Condolences can be sent online at www.melsonfuneralservices.com.