William D. Burke, of Freeport, NY and Margaretville passed away at his home on Cemetery Road on September 7, 2019. He died in his sleep in the company of close family members.
Bill was born at home on January 2, 1934 in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. He served in the US Army, on active duty until 1957. He worked as a mechanic early in life but spent most of his career as a Routeman for the NY Daily News. He was a loyal, third generation member of the Newspaper and Mail Delivers’ Union, known as a skilled driver conversant with the streets of New York City. Afternoons he operated a newspaper stand in midtown Manhattan; and with his brother in law, Joe Farmiloe, was proprietor of the Old Baily Pub in Kew Gardens, Queens.
He was an avid gardener, utilizing organic methods at a time when ‘better growing through chemistry’ was the norm in the suburbs of Long Island. His greatest passion perhaps was for the Catskills, Margaretville in particular, where he spent most of his weekends during the 1970s renovating a cabin on Kittle Hill to serve as a refuge for his family. His legacy includes a provision that the land on the summit of Kittle Hill remain as a private nature preserve that will enshrine the beauty and serenity that so many have come to love in the Catskills. He also enjoyed the fellowship of military veterans, as a longtime member of the American Legion.
Bill’s family is saddened by its loss but cherishes memories of a man known to be hardworking, dedicated to family, and spare with his words but possessed of a wry sense of humor. Bill is survived by his wife of 60 years, Eunice (Farmiloe) Burke; a sister, Sarah of Chicago; two brothers, Paul of Red Hook, NY and Charles of San Diego; his children Patricia (Burke) Tucker, William Burke, and Liza Burke: his grand children and a great grand daughter. Services in celebration of Bill’s life included a wake at Hungerford & Clark Funeral Home, a funeral Mass at Our Holy Redeemer Church in Freeport, and a military veteran interment at Calverton National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be made to the Margaretville Hospital Emergency Medical Services department.