Daniel Burke said one thing, in particular, most characterized his father: “He was someone who lived his life for others.”
Omaha attorney Thomas R. Burke demonstrated his care for others through his involvement in his career, his community and his church.
“His priorities were his family, his professional accomplishments in the legal field and his commitment to Catholic education in the Omaha Archdiocese,” Daniel Burke said.
Thomas Burke died Thursday at age 86. He had been ill since March with pulmonary fibrosis.
His funeral service begins at 11:30 a.m. today at Christ the King Catholic Church, 654 S. 86th St.
Burke served on the Archbishop’s Committee on Educational Development for many years. He and his first wife, the late Donna Gross Burke, were recipients of the National Catholic Education Association’s presidential award.
A graduate of the Creighton University School of Law, Burke most recently had been associated with Erfmier Law, but he previously practiced with Holland, DeLacy & Svoboda and with Lamson, Dugan and Murray law offices. He was a member and past president of the Nebraska Bar and Omaha Bar Associations.
He served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Omaha Community Foundation and the Archbishop Bergan Mercy Foundation. He had been a chairman of the United Way campaign and United Way named him its citizen of the year in 1992.
Among Burke’s other honors were the Salvation Army’s Others Award for community service, the National Conference for Community and Justice Humanitarian Award, Creighton’s Alumni Merit Award, the Gerald T. Bergan Spirit of Mercy Award and the Nebraska State Bar Association’s George Turner Award. He also was inducted into the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Court of Honor.
Burke and his grandson Robert Thomas Marcell published his memoir, “A Life Lived for Others.”
When not practicing law or volunteering, Thomas Burke enjoyed spending time at Lake Okoboji, playing golf and attending family gatherings. He spent winters on Marco Island in Florida.
In addition to his son and grandson, Burke’s survivors include wife Barbara Burke; children Thomas R. Burke Jr., Melanie Ann Ziegler, Lisa Marie Burke, Laura Marie Marcell, Robyn Freeman, Stephen Allen Roberts, Holly Anne Wichert and Jamie Lee Volkens; 19 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren; and sisters Patricia Gross and Shirley Hennebry.
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