Kenneth L. Burke
1947 – 2020
Yorktown – Kenneth L. Burke, age 72, of Yorktown, Indiana, went home to be with his Lord and Savior Monday, February 10, 2020, at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, IN.
Kenneth was born on September 30, 1947 in Muncie, Indiana, to Fred and Martha Burke. Kenneth (known to many as “Kenny B”, “KB”, or “Ken”) grew up in Muncie, IN and attended and graduated from Muncie Southside High School in 1965.
Ken met his high school sweetheart, the love of his life and future bride, Diana Pruett, who was also in the same graduating class. Ken and Diana were married on April 29, 1966, both at the young age of 19-years-old, and have been happily married for over 53 years.
On October 28, 1967, Ken was drafted and served in the Army of the United States, at the rank of Sergeant during the Vietnam Era, after completing Basic Training in Ft. Knox, KY. After a brief period of time in Fort Gordon, GA, Ken and Diana were then stationed in Fort Riley, Kansas. It was there that Ken received Code of Conduct Education and Training as a Radio Operator. Ken also completed Education and Training in Military Justice Procedure as a Radio Teletype Operator. He earned a National Defense Service Medal as a Sharpshooter (Rifle). Ken was then transferred to the United States Army Reserves as a Personnel Specialist until 1972. Ken was fully qualified for re-enlistment, however was not called back to the United States Army Service.
After Ken’s active service in the US Army, he and Diana returned to Muncie where he worked at Westinghouse. Not long after, his professional career began at Guide Lamp in Anderson, IN. At Guide, Ken worked as a Supervisor, as well as in Purchasing, and then as an International Scheduler. In his position as an International Scheduler, Ken would often travel to Barcelona, Spain and conduct business on behalf of General Motors. Ken became quite fluent in speaking the Spanish language and made very dear friends in Spain. Ken was employed at GM for 29 years before he retired. During those 29 years spent at General Motors, he made many wonderful, long-lasting, and lifetime friendships that continued until the date of his death.
In the 1990’s, Ken served as a member of the School Board at Daleville Community Schools for one term.
After his retirement from General Motors, Ken worked in the Pro-Shop at Grandview Golf Course in Anderson for 16 years. Ken enjoyed socializing with the golfers at the Pro-Shop and built many solid friendships with those he encountered in this role.
Ken was employed at the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office as a File Clerk at the time of his death.
Ken enjoyed numerous hobbies that kept him very busy. Of most importance, he was a master-woodworker and craftsman. He built furniture, changing tables for his grandchildren, entertainment centers, coffee tables, end tables, kitchen cabinets, and so much more. If it could be constructed from wood, Kenny B could easily build it. His talent never went unnoticed and his craftsmanship was appreciated by many. Ken had a woodshop in his backyard called “The Barn Works” where he would spend the majority of his free time.
For his wife, Diana, he especially built her the kitchen she’d always wanted with his own hands. He designed and built a large kitchen hutch and pantry combo that runs nearly the entire length of the room, hand-crafted wooden cabinets, wooden countertops, and a large opening in order to see into the family room. Anyone who frequented the Burke home often, knew very well he regretted incorporating that large square opening into his plans. His closest family members got a good laugh when he hollered at every single person, toddler or adult, who passed through the kitchen to “shut off the kitchen light – it hurts my eyes!” But even with a laugh or two, everything in Ken and Diana’s home was created out of wood and with love by Ken, himself.
For his oldest son, Jeff, who is an avid hunter, he created a beautiful wooden case to hold and display Jeff’s first ever Wild Turkey. For his middle daughter, Becky, he hand-crafted a pub-style wooden bar, with added tile for decoration, and a foot rest to keep their guests comfortable. And for his youngest daughter Kelli Anne, he built a tack-box out of quarter-sawn oak (although she had requested “cheap” pine) for her very first horse, Charlie. Kelli Anne simply sent him the measurements and a photo – and low and behold it was built even better than imagined.
Ken was selfless in his efforts to create works of art out of wood for those who he loved and cared for deeply. It was clear he loved to see the heart-felt reactions when presenting something he had completed. His desire to create beautiful things for others was never due to a need for recognition or praise, but always with a genuine intent to make someone’s day. He sure did that often.
Over the last several years before Christmas, Ken would create approximately 150 of the most beautiful bowls and vases, in all shapes and sizes. These were handcrafted from many types of wood such as Cherry, Oak, Maple, and Walnut. No bowl or vase was like the other. No two were ever the same. At the bottom of each piece would be his signature stamp “The Barn Works”, his name in cursive writing, along with an uncirculated penny glued to the bottom indicating the year the bowl or vase was made.
Ken also loved to fish. Every year, Ken and his brother, his son, and his nephew (sometimes others) would travel north to Canada and stay at Moose Horn Lodge in Chapleau, Ontario. They would spend days living like true fisherman, catching, cleaning, and frying their fresh fish. They would fish from morning until night, two men to a boat (one to steer and the other, of course, to yell “GRAB THE NET!!!”) with contests all day – who would catch the biggest, who would catch the smallest, and who would catch the most. Recently, it was discovered that Ken paid for this year’s trip to Canada which will now include his youngest daughter, Kelli Anne, and his oldest grandson/Kelli’s 13-year-old son, Jackson, to ensure that his favorite tradition continues. (Ken did want it known that Kelli Anne is not to do the dishes every night and that everyone should still take turns.)
Ken was also an avid golfer and immensely enjoyed keeping his yard and landscaping in pristine condition. Never could you find a more plush and luxurious green lawn. His Canadian Maple Trees were the first to bloom every spring, and the last to lose their leaves in the fall. He was most proud of these two Norway Maples – because he started them from tiny seedlings from his grandfather’s home. They are now two of the fullest trees in the neighborhood, one sitting on each side of the driveway.
He treasured the time spent with his wife of 53 years, Diana. He enjoyed visits with his brothers, his children, and his grandchildren – the youngest three who would always refer to him as “Papaw Kenny B”. He had a special and unique relationship with each of his children and each of his grandchildren. But, his wife, Diana, truly held his heart. He would light up when she entered his hospital room, even if she’d only gone to grab a cup of coffee.
Ken was preceded in death by his father, Fred Burke; mother, Martha Burke; sister-in-law, Vicki Burke; father-in-law Foster Pruett; mother-in-law Lavonna Pruett; and brother-in-law Brian Pruett.
Ken is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Diana (Pruett) Burke, three children Jeff Burke (wife Karol), Rebecca Hughes (husband Mark), and Kelli Anne Hoffman (husband Eric); six grandchildren Lyndsea Burke, MacKyndsea Burke, Jackson Louck, Sydney Hoffman, and twins Carsyn and Claire Hoffman. He is also survived by his two brothers Terry Burke (wife Linda) and Fred Burke Jr, a brother-in-law Duane Pruett (wife Jennie Scott), and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Visitation will be held Friday, February 14, 2020, at the Middletown Church of the Nazarene, 698 N 5th St, Middletown, IN 47356 between the hours of 3 pm to 7 pm.
Funeral Services will be held Saturday, February 15, 2020, at 12:00 pm at the Middletown Church of the Nazarene. A brief 1 hour visitation will occur before services begin, with Phil Rogers officiating.
Graveside services will immediately follow at Saunders Cemetery, 500 South in Daleville, with the rendering of Military Funeral Honors and Honor Detail.
The family will receive online condolences at www.parsonmortuary.com.
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