Whitehorse Daily Star

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January 16, 1940 - July 30, 2022

After 82 and a half years of living life on his own terms, Kenneth (Ken) Burke passed away peacefully on July 30th, 2022. He departed this world with his family at his side. Holding him. Loving him. And listening to a non-stop playlist of his favourite songs.

A person who could strike up a conversation with absolutely anybody, Ken sowed the seeds of friendships wherever he was. If you ever needed help or were a friend in need, he would drop everything and all he expected in return was a laugh and a beer.

Ken was born in Blind River, Ontario on January 16, 1940 to James Burke and Isabelle Garrett Burke. He was the fourth youngest of 11 children and is survived by only two of his siblings: Harvey Burke and Ruby Brawley.

As a child in Sault Ste. Marie, Ken learned the carpentry skills he would use throughout life by following along with his father to every odd job he had. He spent his summers exploring the surrounding woods with his brothers and friends.

He joined the Canadian Army just shy of his 17th birthday and served as a gunner for 3 years in the 6th platoon, Royal Canadian Artillery. He re-enlisted and served 4 more years as a rifleman in the 2nd platoon of the Queen’s Own Rifles.

He met Dorothy Marryat at the Swinging Singles Square Dance Club in Calgary in the fall of 1964. They were married on July 31, 1965 and started their lifetime adventure together.

Over the next decade in Calgary, Ken & Dorothy started a family with three children while Ken worked various jobs and road construction. Ken was foreman of the crews who laid major roads in Calgary like the Blackfoot Trail, 16th Avenue & Deerfoot Trail.

In the summer of 1977, Ken & Dorothy packed up their family for their next great adventure and on the toss of a coin, moved to the Yukon. Ken and his family spent the next 20 years taking every opportunity to explore, experience, and live the Yukon life.

In 1998, after retiring from working 21 years at Canada Flooring, he traveled far and wide with his wife Dorothy: Australia & New Zealand, Europe, across Canada, and endless family trips to Alberta.

On their way back to the Yukon in 2000, Ken realized driving North, that they’d already found the place his heart called home. They knew there was no other answer to the question: “Where do you go after Yukon?” and the Yukon remained their permanent home.

Creativity was core to Ken’s life and in his retirement, his creative imagination came out in full force. He was a self-taught painter in different mediums but favoured oils. He also experimented with quilting his own projects while helping Dorothy with hers. Over the years he spent exploring the Yukon, the land truly became his muse and inspired the endless ideas that flowed through him.

Ken was the rock and joy of his family and friends. A man with an unwavering moral code, he had high expectations for himself and those around him. He was rarely seen without a telltale smirk that came before his never-ending jokes and pranks.

He leaves cherished memories to his wife Dorothy; his children: Redd, Natoline, and Jennifer; his grandchildren: Shawn, Jorden, Chantel, Jonathan, and Michael; great-grandchildren: Dylan and Emma; Carl and Marney and many other nieces and nephews, and a wide circle of friends.

We will miss him enormously and try to follow his example of living, loving, and laughing through all the twists and turns our lives bring us.

We will hold a Celebration of Life on Saturday, August 13th, 2022 at the Golden Age Society in Whitehorse from 1pm-4pm. 

Goodbye from all of us to a man of many names:  Ken, Kenny, Dad, Uncle Ken, Grandpa, Kenneth Douglas AmezioAmazioAmendo Burke.


Comments (1)

RobinLynn Stobart on Aug 9, 2022 at 5:40 pm

Uncle Ken and Dorothy - My mom one of your sisters 1937 Rita and my dad's brother-in-law Guy with your nieces and nephew held you Uncle Ken with high regards to how you learned to enjoy your living of life here on earth. God blessings to your whole family.

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