Born November 9, 1937 in Brooklyn, New York. The second oldest of eleven children of James and Marie Burke, Jim joined the Army after Brooklyn Technical High School, qualifying for Korean GI Bill benefits by four days. His family moved from Richmond Hill to South Ozone Park while he was overseas but he found them. He took college courses at night and completed an apprenticeship in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Jim claimed the closing of the Brooklyn yard was the highlight of his working career because he got a paid transfer to the Long Beach Shipyard where he rerouted a road and designed much of a five story industrial building. From there he progressed by promotions to Management Analyst and Administrative Officer, transferring to other Federal Agencies including a brief assignment to the FBI to design offices. He was overruled in his argument that field agents had less need for window offices than permanently office-bound staff. An eclectic dilettante student, Jim studied Art, Real Estate and Hotel and Restaurant Management in addition to his Industrial Engineering and Business courses. From Tennis and Ballroom Dance classes he got exercise. Coerced into coaching Little League, Jim served for three years, belatedly learning the game and becoming a fan. Through the application of prayer and other AA suggestions, Jim had his last drink January 26, 1984 and his last cigarette February 27, 1986. He retired after 40 plus years of Government service. After the death of his son, Jimmy, he followed advice of friends to deal with his grief and depression by volunteering to work with children. Jim maintained a lengthy register of friends and family who enjoyed the hospitality of his guest room. Jim died July 25, 2014 from cancer at his home in Long Beach. He is survived by his loving wife Leonora, son Peter Damian, granddaughter Zavanoel, daughter-in-law Patricia and stepson Peter Adrian. He is extremely missed. Funeral mass will be at All Souls Cemetery, 4400 Cherry Ave, Long Beach at 1:00 pm Friday, August 8. A Memorial will be held at Belmont Shores Mobile Estates' Clubhouse, 6230 E Marina View Dr, Long Beach, at 1:00 pm Saturday August 9.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 3, 2014