Tuesday, January 26, 2016
Bill Burke - Retired School Superintendent Dies At 83
William Cargyle (Bill) Burke, superintendent of Hendry County Schools from 1983 to 1992 died Saturday morning, January 23, 2016.
He was born in Chosen, Florida on November 17, 1932 to Flora Moore Burke and Patrick Leon Burke and grew up and attended school in Belle Glade, FL.
During these years he began playing football and golf and he never lost interest in either one. After graduation Bill attended and graduated from the University of Florida where he played football for his beloved Florida Gators.
He later received his Masters degree from Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, FL. Bill began his professional career in Wauchula, FL where he taught and coached football. His next move was back home to Belle Glade where he also taught and coached the Belle Glade Rams for many winning seasons.
West Palm became home for a few years where he taught and coached at John I. Leonard High School. Bill also became the Coordinator of Federal Projects in 1975 and spent a few years traveling from Ft. Lauderdale over to the West Coast. While making his frequent trips from coast to coast he became interested in the little town of LaBelle, and much to it's delight he moved his family here in 1976 and became the Director of Federal Projects.
In addition to his job with the Federal Program, Bill immediately became involved with the LaBelle Quarterback Club Program and worked endless hours doing anything he could to help the student athletes.
In 1982 he was appointed to fill the term of Superintendent of Hendry County District Schools, a position he held for 10 years. Because of his integrity and hard work, Bill ran unopposed in two elections and was instrumental in the building of several schools and other projects throughout the district.
He decided in 1992 it was time to retire and spend more time on the golf course, which was his second love after football.
Bill was the recipient of many awards over the years, and in 2012 he received the Hendry County School District's first Heritage Award, for Service to Dedication which reads: "by word and deed, your presence has enriched the lives of students…and served as an example for all". Bill loved his family and was always happy to be involved with them, especially to watch the little ones grow.
He was adored by all the small children in his extended family, whom he loved teasing, but always followed it up with a handful of gummy bears. He was affectionately known as Papa Bear.
Bill is pre-deceased by his parents: Patrick and Flora Burke, wife: Frankie Burke, siblings: Doris, Herbert and Ella Catherine. He is survived by his loving wife: Vicki Patton Burke, children: Shellie (Karl) Schmidt, Pat (Julie) Burke, Kellie (Jim) Feyas, Scott (Susan) Wegscheid and Wendy (Wesley) O'Ferrell. siblings: Lee (Mary Frances) Burke, Mary McGill and Joyce (Lee) Rogers. He has 11 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren and a host of adoring nieces, nephews as well as great nieces and great nephews.
The visitation will be at Akin Davis Funeral Home in LaBelle, FL on Thursday, January 28, 2016, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
The Celebration of his life will be on Friday, January 29, 2016, 10:00 a.m. at Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church in LaBelle. The graveside committal service will follow at 12:30 p.m. at Foreverglades Cemetery in Belle Glade.
In lieu of flowers Bill would love to have donations made to Operation Back Pack, which provides food for the weekend for children in need. If you are interested please make checks to: First Baptist Church, 330 N. Main St., LaBelle, FL 33935 or Carlson Memorial United Methodist Church, 310 Campbell St., LaBelle, FL 33935 and earmark your check for Operation Back Pack.