James William Burke, Jr., 81 of Sun City Hilton Head died at home on December 28, 2019. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Wanda Lee Ann and a daughter, Leanne Burke, and son-in-law, Jerome P. Sweeney. He was predeceased by a daughter, Kathleen, and a son, James William. Jim was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on April 19, 1938 to James William Burke, Sr. and Delores Marie Welsh Burke Webb. A sister, Marlene Marie Burke Petraglia, also survives.
Jim graduated from Greensburg High School in 1956. His career education began at US Navy Avionics in Memphis, Tennessee. He attended St. Vincent College, Monmouth College, Long Branch, New Jersey and Rutgers Advanced Management Program for support courses throughout his working years.
In 1976 Jim moved his family to a farm in Ohio where he took care of all the medical needs of the flock of sheep. He was a dive master, who co-partnered with Michael Grant in teaching scuba diving, at the local Wilmington College. His job took him to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he took up boating. His interests and personality drew many friends.
Jim’s experience at Johnsville Naval Air Station in Pennsylvania during his years of active service was so rewarding in knowledge and flying adventures, as a navigator. Jim would tell stories of when he was a member of an airborne crew working on project TACAMO during the Cuban Crisis. The project’s mission was to execute messages of strategic communications in support of the President of the United States and nuclear forces. As a true Patriot of America, Jim’s stories were educational and a total recall of facts.
Paul Heathwole, a friend and coworker describes Jim’s career:
“Jim spent a big part of his career working in and for the Flight Simulation Industry. He was well known and respected by many people and companies in the simulation field. In America and in Europe he was involved in many simulation programs with both federal and commercial customers and clients. He helped select the correct computer hardware and software solutions for companies that developed and built flight simulators for the Air Force, Navy, Army and for commercial use. He represented his company in America and in Europe in many opportunities and helped in selecting technical papers for national and international simulation conventions. Helping to develop specifications so his company could provide the best solutions was always his goal. His honesty and integrity were never questioned over his career.” Jim was elected by the industry to be Conference Chairman for the first International Trainings Systems Conference at Singapore.
Jim moved to South Carolina 16 years ago. He learned to be an accomplished woodworker and taught himself guitar, when he was 78 years old. He was an avid researcher in the medical and the spiritual websites. He strengthened a great love of the rosary in the last year.
The family will receive friends from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm on Monday, January 6, 2020 at Sauls Funeral Home, 90 Simmonsville Rd., Bluffton. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 am on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 31 St. Gregory Drive, Bluffton. Jim will be laid to rest in Sugar Grove Cemetery, Wilmington, OH at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, P.O. Box 3827, Bluffton, SC 29910 in memory of James William Burke. Their care for Jim and compassion for the entire family was remarkable.