Carl J. Burke

April 23, 1933 - March 13, 2020

Carl J. Burke, age 86, passed away peacefully in his beloved log home, on Bainbridge Island, the morning of March 13, 2020, with family by his side. Born April 23, 1933, in Seattle, he was the son of Edward and Molfred Burke and spent his childhood in the Georgetown and Beacon Hill neighborhoods. Carl was entrepreneurial and adventuresome from a young age. Along with his paper route, he raised rabbits for sale to his Italian neighbors and even hauled tubs of daffodils to downtown Seattle to sell. He and a childhood buddy once rode their horses as far as Marysville, sleeping overnight in the City park. Once when Tex Ritter was playing at the Palomar Theater, young Carl and his friend discovered his famous horse tied in the alley. Before long, Mr. Ritter came out and wasn’t too happy to find the boys ON the horse…always a favorite of Carl’s stories. Graduating from Cleveland High School in 1951, Carl set out for India as a Merchant Marine. In 1953, he joined the Marines. After training at Camp Pendleton, his ship headed for the Korean War but the Armistice was signed before the ship was able to land. Carl was always extremely proud of being a Marine. Carl met his future wife, Sandra Ericksen, in 1957 at what was then Everett Junior College. They married in 1958 and lived their first year in Hawaii, where their first son, Cary was born. Upon return, Carl and Sandy bought their first house in Everett before moving their family, now including daughter Betsy, to Bainbridge Island, in 1967. It was a great move and the family grew to include daughter, Stephanie, and son, Ryan. Carl and Sandy contentedly raised their children on the Island, along with numerous dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, a goat, and whatever other creature the kids brought home. They built their log home on a beautiful five acres in 1980. Carl had continued his employment in the Title Insurance field before becoming a longshoreman. He retired from the ILWU, in 2011, at age 78. He loved his job and being with friends on the ferry commute. He enjoyed working on his land, pursuing his avid interest in Native American history, and making memorable road trips with his nephew, Raj. Carl was preceded in death by his infant son, Shawn; his parents; brother, Roderick; sisters, Carleen and Kay; sister, Connie, passed away soon after Carl, in April. He is survived by former wife, Sandy; sons, Cary and Ryan Burke; daughters, Betsy Burke and Stephanie (Pablo) Pizarro; his two adored grandchildren, Hugo and Luisa (to whom he was always Grampa Carlos and Papa ); and several nieces and nephews. He enjoyed a full life and is dearly missed by his family. He will be laid to rest at Mount Tahoma National Cemetery at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Carl’s memory to Helpline House or Friends of the Farm, Bainbridge Island.

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