Robert Wilfred Burke, 88, of Jefferson, passed away Mar. 6.
Robert was born October 12, 1925 in Elkader. He was the seventh of ten children born to J. Francis and Josephine Burke. He was raised and graduated from high school in Strawberry Point. Bob served in the Navy Air Corp. at the end of World War II. He received his medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 1953 and after an internship in Fresno, CA, he returned to University of Iowa for his surgery residency. Bob practiced as a general surgeon and county coroner at the Greene County Medical Center for 36 years and helped to start the Jefferson Clinic (later part of McFarland Clinic). Bob was active in the community through Rotary Club and served on the Boards of the Jefferson Community School, GCMC Hospital and St. Joseph’s parish council. He was a very active member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. He also worked in Mexico, Panama and Kenya on medical missionary trips.
Bob loved children and spent hours playing with his own as well as nieces, nephews and many others. He initiated RAGBRAI trips soon after its inception. He also enjoyed ski trips in Colorado. Bob taught many children to play ball, to do jumping feats on the trampoline, to maneuver the backswing at tennis, and to swim in the pool. He was often seen on the tennis court.
Bob spent his last days at his home in Evergreen Ridge surrounded by family and friends. The family wishes to send their gratitude for the care received at Evergreen Ridge and from Homeward Hospice of Mary Greeley Medical Center.
Bob is survived by his wife of 55 years, Rose Mary (Brunner); seven children: John (Maureen), James (Maria), David (Audrey), MaryAnn (Hans-Peter), Stephen (Katie), Mary Elizabeth (Timothy) and Theresa (David); 26 grandchildren: Robert, Matthew, Michael, Elena, Emily, Nathaniel, Sofia, Caleb, Joshua, Peter, Sarah Joy, Maria, Abigail, Vincent, Frederick, Hans-Peter, Isabella, Elizabeth, Ian, Maura, Marisa, Katherine, Daniel, James, Isaac and Benjamin; and three siblings: Rosemary Dunn, Vincent (Joan), and Edward (Janice).
Mass of the Resurrection was at 10:30 a.m. Mar. 11 at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jefferson. Mass was concelebrated by Fr. Roger Linnan, Fr. Don Ries, Fr. Bill Brunner and Fr. Jeff Schleisman. Eulogy by John Burke. Acolytes by Peter de Ruiter and Sofia Burke. Readers were Rosemary Hoyt, Amy Holden and Fr. Bill Brunner. Ministry of Music consisted of: accompanist Monica McGregor; soloist Sheilah Pound; Katie Neal, Elena Burke and the St. Joseph’s Guitar Group. Prayers of Faithful: Roger Kluesner, Emily Burke, Maura Burke, Isabella de Ruiter, Isaac Kraemer, Benjamin Kraemer and Elizabeth Burke. Gift bearers were Ed and Janice Burke and Vince and Joan Burke. Ushers were Daniel Neal and James Neal. Casket bearers were Rob Burke, Matthew Burke, Michael Burke, Ian Burke, Nathaniel Burke and Fred de Ruiter.
A Rosary service was held Mar. 10 at 5 p.m. with Tom Feldmann presiding. A Vigil service was held Mar 10 at 8 p.m. with Fr. Jeff Schleisman.
Interment will be at the St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Jefferson at a later date.
In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, The Greene County Medical Center or Jefferson Park & Recreation Department.
Slininger-Rossow Funeral Home in Jefferson, 515-386-2171, www.sliningerrossowfuneralhome.com