In Memory

Richard Burke


Friday, May. 18, 2007
©The Virginian-Pilot
Richard Edward Burke Sr., 63, passed away suddenly May 10, 2007, while camped at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
At the time of his unexpected death, Rich and his wife Colleen were resident volunteers at the refuge, a site that Rich especially enjoyed in all his travels.
Rich was born Dec. 2, 1943, in Topeka, Kan., and was raised near Little Rock, Ark.
He enlisted in the Navy in 1960 and proudly retired as an officer (LT (LDO)) in 1982, building a career as a submarine communicator.
Among his many postings, he served on the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, from 1963 to 1968.
Following retirement from the Navy, Rich worked another 20 years with military satellite communications systems as an employee and vice president of Sonalysts Inc., in the Norfolk area.
In 2004, after much anticipation, Rich and Colleen embarked as full time RV travelers, a lifestyle they dearly loved.
Rich was an accomplished athlete all through his life, most notably in tennis, and in his travels he enjoyed golfing and fishing wherever he camped.
He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. Survivors include his wife, Colleen; his former spouse, Nancy K. Hewitt of Virginia Beach; his children, H. Scott Cheney and wife Kelley and daughters Katelyn and Kess of San Antonio, Texas, Richard E. Burke Jr. and wife Ashley of Williamsburg, Va., Christopher J. Burke and partner Mary Oglesby of Norfolk and Allison K. Peterson and husband Jeff of Chesapeake; Colleen’s children, Kirsten L. Anderson of Denver, Colo., and Diane C. Mason of Annapolis, Md.; his brother, Larry D. Burke; three nieces; and many cherished friends.
Rich was preceded in death by his parents, H. Eugene and Frances E. (Delong) Burke; and two brothers, Robert C. Burke and William E. Burke. Family members held a very small gathering May 14, 2007, to honor Rich’s life. On May 20, 2007, Rich’s ashes will be scattered in the Atlantic Ocean, in honor of his final wishes. Cremation was conducted by Twiford’s Funeral Home, Manteo.
Memorial donations may be made to the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, P.O. Box 1808, Manteo, NC 27954.