Kevin Francis Burke, 69, of Rye, NY, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his loving wife and children, on January 13th, after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
Born in Boston, MA, Kevin was the oldest of seven children born to Charles and Ellen (Kelley) Burke. Growing up in Newton, MA, he spent his winters playing hockey and his summers on the beach in Scituate, MA, traditions he lovingly passed on to his children.
Kevin’s educational journey included St. Sebastian’s, Phillips Academy Andover, and Harvard, where his time was marked by academic and athletic success, lifelong friendships, and a playful mischievous streak (always in good fun). At Harvard, he was a dedicated member of the Owl Club and excelled on a hockey team that achieved Ivy Championships, a Beanpot title, and Frozen Four appearances. His parents were a constant presence at every game. During his college years, Kevin worked hard, cleaning offices at night to support his education, a testament to his work ethic and determination. Later in life, Kevin watched with pride as his sons, Ryan and Kevin Jr. (Khaki), followed in his footsteps at his alma maters.
After college, Kevin moved to New York and joined Bankers Trust, where he met the love of his life, Mimi Hazen. His quick wit and contagious laugh quickly won Mimi’s heart. After 25 years with Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank, he joined GE Capital/Antares where he built a market-leading franchise in the syndicated loan market and, more importantly, a team that he considered a second family. Kevin had a lasting impact on everyone with whom he crossed paths. His warmth and ability to connect with others extended from his team, to the building staff, to people like Vincent who sold him his daily New York Post for the train ride home. Recently, after a chemo treatment, Kevin went out of his way to find Vincent, just to hand him one last Christmas gift. Kevin also helped innumerable people get jobs and advance their careers, always offering to review a resume or make an introduction.
The most important and impactful role of Kevin’s life was as a husband, father, and grandfather. In 1983, Kevin married Mimi in Rye, where they subsequently moved and started their family. They raised four wonderful children, Ryan, Khaki, Kelley, and Courtney. Despite his demanding career, Kevin was an extremely hands-on dad. He made time to coach all of his kids’ Rye Rangers hockey teams, necessitating weekend road trips to just about every hockey rink in the Northeast. He instilled valuable lessons in his children. Anyone who entered the Burke house knew the significance of “Eat Breakfast, Go To X-Period, Play Hurt, No Drama,” which he wrote on paper in permanent marker and Mimi framed and hung over the back door.
Kevin was an active grandfather for his six grandchildren, all living in Rye. To their delight, he was quick to sneak them a milkshake, dig them a massive hole on the beach, or make them laugh uncontrollably by pretending to be a bear (or a gruffalo) as he clawed on the opposite side of their door before bedtime.
A member of The Apawamis Club in Rye, Loblolly in Hobe Sound, FL, and the U.S. Seniors’ Golf Association, Kevin cherished his time on the golf course. He joked to his family about winning “56 majors,” including a recent victory after his cancer diagnosis. Kevin’s four holes-in-one are memorable not only for his athletic achievement, but also for how many people enjoyed celebrating with him each time. His philanthropic spirit was evident at Loblolly, where he served on the Grants Committee and with Friends at Loblolly, both dedicated to aiding those in need in Hobe Sound.
Kevin was authentic, caring, and sincere. He was quick to make connections, give thoughtful advice, or do whatever he could to help others. It was a great day for his children and many others when he discovered Venmo. He loved Motown and Barry White. His favorite restaurants included Tandoori, Kelly’s, and Coyote Flaco, although every meal Mimi cooked was, of course, “the best I’ve ever had.” He patted all dogs he encountered and was often known to have a treat on him “just in case.”
In addition to his loving wife, Mimi, and loyal pup, Henry, Kevin is survived by his children: Ryan, Kevin Jr. (Alix), Kelley (Michael Baine), Courtney (Jake Roth); his six grandchildren: Ethan, Riley, Nate, Caroline, Gavin, and Griffin; his father and stepmother, Charles and Claire Burke; his siblings: Charles III (Kathy), Brian (Lisa), Greg, Ted (Sharon), Terry, and Tim (Joy); and his many beloved nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his mother Ellen, with whom he is now joyfully reunited (and Trooper and Rex, too).
The memorial wake for Kevin will take place at Graham Funeral Home, Thursday, February 1, 5:00pm-7:00pm, and the memorial service at Rye Presbyterian Church, Friday, February 2, 1:00pm. In lieu of flowers or gifts, please brighten a stranger’s day with a kind gesture in memory of Kevin and his lifelong generosity.