Martin Burke, 89
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NAPLES -- Martin Burke, age 89, passed away on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at the Maine Veterans' Home in Scarborough, where he had resided for the past six months. Thank you to that facility, the Barron Center in Portland, and 'Aging Excellence' for their compassionate care. They are special people.
Martin was born on March 22, 1923 in Holyrood, Newfoundland, the oldest child of Vincent & Louise (Wall) Burke. He grew up in St. Mary's. Martin came to this country in 1944 at the age of 21 when the U.S Government was recruiting young men to work the farms here to replace our young men who were away fighting World War II. (At that time Newfoundland was a country, not a province of Canada.) Martin had to return to Newfoundland at the end of his four year visa, but he had met his wife-to-be here and wanted to come back to the USA to marry her. Thank you to Rudy Kasserman of Rudy's Meat Market in Portland for sponsoring his return. Martin returned to Falmouth in 1948 and was drafted into the U.S. Army in January of 1949. He served one year active duty and then three more years in the National Guard.
Martin and his first wife, Irene (Hansen), married in 1949 and lived in Falmouth and had four children: Eric, Janine, Wayne, & Kelvin. They were divorced in 1966. In 1983 Martin married Patricia (Ledger) Maxim and they built their home on Long Lake in Naples (Maine). Although Martin suffered the effects of Alzheimer's disease for nine years, he remembered almost to the end and was very proud of the fact that he had built their beautiful home on the land that he carefully tended for nearly 50 years.
After farming in Falmouth, Martin worked on the Portland waterfront driving pilings for the piers. He then became a self-employed carpenter, shingling roofs and cedar shingle side walls for the Cope Brothers and then C. Sam DiBiase, among others, for many years. He retired in 1983 to build his and Patricia's new home in Naples on Burke Road (P.O. Box 509).
Martin was predeceased by his parents and two sisters in Newfoundland. He still has a half-sister and many nieces & nephews living there. He was also predeceased by his oldest grandson, Todd Burke, in 1996; and most recently by his daughter Janine on July 5, 2012.
Martin is survived by his former wife Irene Burke of Bridgton and their three sons: Eric of Syracuse, N.Y., Wayne of Naples, and Kelvin (TUX) of Bridgton; and Kelvin's three children Keegan, Adora, and Kamden. He is also survived by his wife Patricia Maxim and her three daughters: Lynn Chick of Westbrook and her two sons Jason & Ethan; Laurie Bisson of Woolwich and her four children Lucien, Jaime Lynn, Benjamin, & Juliette; and Lou Ann White and her three children Brittany, Brandon, & Brianna.
At Martin's request there will be no funeral. His body will be cremated and his ashes scattered. In memory of Martin, there is a bench with his name on it near the 'Songo River Queen II' boat dock, bought to benefit the Naples Causeway Beautification project, inscription: In loving memory of Martin Burke -- son of Newfoundland who loved Naples, Maine & Long Lake.
Published in Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram on Aug. 12, 2012