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William "Bill" L. Burke
January 4, 2024
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William L. "Bill" Burke Jr., a cherished educator, devoted family man, and friend to many, passed away peacefully on January 4, 2024, at the Ruth McLain Hospice House in Braintree, Massachusetts. Born in Lawrence and raised in South Boston, Bill lived a life marked by a passion for teaching, a love for his family, and a dedication to his faith.
After graduating from Boston College High School, Bill continued his education at Boston College and Tufts University, where his love for languages flourished. He further pursued his passion for learning by earning Master’s Degrees in Education and Theology. For a time, he attended St. John's Seminary in Boston, deepening his faith which would remain a guiding force throughout his life.
Bill's professional journey was as remarkable as it was long-standing. For 40 years, he enlightened young minds at Boston College High School teaching Latin and Greek before retiring in 1999. His commitment to the school and its community did not end with his retirement from teaching; he continued to contribute to the school's legacy by working in the Advancement Office at B.C. High until his second retirement in 2019. Bill's tenure at the school was further distinguished by his role as the Drama Director, where he inspired creativity and confidence in countless students. His academic contributions included authoring two Latin books, which served as a testament to his expertise and his desire to share knowledge.
Outside the classroom, Bill's interests were diverse and joyous. He was a convivial spirit who cherished the simple pleasure of dining with friends at favorite local spots such as Granite Links, Amrheins in South Boston, and Newcomb Farms in Milton. His love for horse racing was well-known, and his trips to Saratoga were among his most treasured excursions. He was also an avid sports fan especially for the Boston Red Sox and his grandson Kyle.
Bill's life was a reflection of intelligence, faith, and generosity. His faith-filled approach to life's challenges and his generous spirit left a lasting impact on everyone he met. His intelligence not only shone through in his academic achievements but also in the wisdom he imparted to his students and loved ones.
He was the beloved husband of the late Sheila P. (Fennessy) and Ann T. (Johnson), and a loving father to Brendan Burke and his wife Lynne of Rutland, and Kerin Burke of Canton. His role as a grandfather brought him great joy, and he will be fondly remembered by his grandchildren, Joshua, Percy, and Kyle Burke. Though predeceased by his brother Denis Burke, the family bonds Bill forged in life remain strong in memory.
Bill's legacy is one of enduring love and the countless lives he enriched through his teaching and presence. His family, friends, and former students will forever carry the lessons he taught, both in and out of the classroom. As we bid farewell to William L. "Bill" Burke Jr., we celebrate a life well-lived, a heart well-loved, and a soul that will continue to inspire all who had the honor of knowing him.
Visiting hours at the Dockray & Thomas Funeral Home 455 Washington St. Canton Wednesday 3:00 to 7:00 pm. Funeral Mass at St. Oscar Romero Church, Canton Thursday morning at 11:00. Burial St. Mary’s cemetery, Canton. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to St. Oscar Romero Church, 700 Washington St. Canton, MA 02021 or Kynock Foundation for the Arts at www.kynockfoundation.org.