John Joseph Burke Jr. of Northport Alabama, age 81, passed away peacefully at his home on September 22, 2023 with members of his family by his side. Services for Dr. Burke will be on Friday, September 29, at St. Francis Catholic Church in Tuscaloosa, at 3:00 p.m. Visitation will be one hour prior to service time.
John was born in Buffalo, New York in 1942 and grew up in Springfield,
Massachusetts. He graduated in 1967 from Boston College with a degree in Philosophy; he received an MA in English from Northwestern University and a PhD in English from UCLA in 1974. He was a distinguished professor of English at the University of Alabama from 1974 until his retirement in 2017.
During his tenure at the University John was the recipient of numerous awards and was beloved by countless students. He served as Director of the English Honors Program for many years. He taught high school Latin for 15 years at Holy Spirit. John had a sharp intellect and was knowledgeable about a wealth of subjects. His grandchildren sometimes referred to him as “The Scholar.”
Although he was a respected and beloved educator, what was most important to him was his family, his wife, children, grandchildren, extended Massachusetts family, and relatives in Australia.
John’s kindness and boundless generosity was inherent in all of his interactions. These qualities were demonstrated on a daily basis with all those he interacted with as he battled Parkinson’s.
John is survived by his beloved wife Mary Burke, and their four children, Rebecca (Marcus) Stepaniak, Timothy (Jennifer) Burke, Jessica Burke, Rachel (Brendan) O’Farrell. He is survived by his grandchildren, Jakob, Oskar, Kaleb, and Sophie Stepaniak, Keegan and Liam Burke, Finnegan and Lochlann O’Farrell.
Funeral services will be held Friday, September 29 2023 at St. Francis of Assisi University Parish. Visitation will be at two o’clock followed by a funeral mass at three o’clock. Father Tom Ackerman and Father John Fallon will be officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to: Catholic Social Services of West Alabama, PO Box 70187, Tuscaloosa, AL 35407