Burke BOGER


Family-Placed Death Notice

BOGER, Burke BURKE LAWRENCE BOGER Burke Lawrence Boger, 32, died unexpectedly on Monday, April 8, 2013 at his Buckhead apartment. He was born on March 28, 1981 in Atlanta and was predeceased by his mother, Harriet Owen Boger of Atlanta and Highlands, North Carolina, his maternal grandparents, Harriett Burke and James Coleman Owen, Jr. of Griffin, Georgia, and paternal grandparents, Frances June and Dr. Lawrence Leroy Boger of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Burke was a deeply caring son, brother, nephew, uncle and friend. He was educated at Westminster Schools in Atlanta and graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He also attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Burke started performing on stage at an early age in school in plays at Westminster and in starring roles at Episcopal. Always the clothes horse, by age ten he already owned five tuxedos and sported them at art openings, parties, or to Universal Studios in Orlando where he hoped to be "discovered". He co-produced and directed the production of "Job" and performed the leading role during his senior year at Episcopal. He won the book award for excellence in the performing arts at Episcopal. He also attended the prestigious Northwestern University Summer Theatre Residence Program during high school. He was a talented distance runner and won the Junior High Coaches Award for Cross Country at Westminster and captained his cross country squad at Episcopal. Rarely in life do you encounter a person whose presence lights up a room and magnetizes those around him to establish the tone of the conversation. Burke was such a person. He possessed amazing artistic and communicative skills honed by years of performing on stage, in film and playing his inimitable harmonica, self-taught by his grandfather, with many local bands and groups. He frequently attended musical jam sessions hosted by Ray McPhail in Highlands where he sang and played the harmonica and guitar with bluegrass and popular bands spontaneously assembled from those living in or visiting the mountains of western North Carolina. He was often called at the spur of the moment to introduce a band at a concert, accompany them with his harmonica, sing a favorite Frank Sinatra rendition, or make cameo appearances at a local improvisational theatre company where he engaged the audience with impromptu stories and anecdotes. His friends, Rick Hazen and Spencer Reid said of Burke: "He was a living, breathing, Atlanta institution. He touched so many lives, and brought smiles and laughter with him everywhere he went." He began his career in improv theatre while paying for his passion as a waiter and bartender. His many contacts in the restaurant business led him to real estate where he held various sales positions with Jenny Pruitt & Associates and Sotheby's Atlanta Fine Homes in Buckhead. His first mentor, Rob Owen, commented: "Burke was a man born to entertain others, who had incredible presence and was both suave and debonair. He and I often joked with and complimented each other about our selection of ties. His character and sense of humor will be missed by all who knew and worked with him." He won awards for technology, best emerging sales agent and salesperson of the month, million dollar roundtable and often conducted seminars on specialized forms and structures of residential real estate transactions. His knowledge of leases and real estate contracts led him to Big Game Brands (formerly Raving Brands), a food and family entertainment franchise and private equity group, where he consulted with both the franchisor and its franchisees on various real estate leases, the lifeblood of any successful franchise. His talents and engaging personality led him to join the firm on a fulltime basis as Franchise Sales Director where he successfully sold new franchise concepts and managed a group of over 30 franchisees for the Flying Biscuit and Monkey Joe's concepts until his death. One of the annual Boger family traditions was on Christmas Eve when Burke would gather the family and invited friends by a roaring fire and read "How Come Christmas" by Roark Bradford, a timeless folklore account of why Christmas occurs in the cold of winter rather than midsummer on the Fourth of July. No one who ever listened to Burke perform that reading will ever forget it and no one will ever be able to replicate his drama and interpretation of the dialect in which the book was written. His brother, Owen Boger, remembered, "Embodying the phrase from Shakespeare's As You Like It: 'All the world's a stage', Burke was always in character, in costume, or both." His father, Richard ("Dick") Boger, recalls the night when he and Harriet returned from a dinner party on the eve of the application deadline to Episcopal for Burke, then 14, to find that Burke wrote the only draft of his essay, in ink with no corrections or editing, describing a life's experience and how it affected him. The occasion was the funeral of a friend's grandmother in Griffin where Burke observed everyone was so sullen and sad. He felt a funeral was the place where everyone should gather to remember all the good things of a person's life, especially those things that were cause for celebration and laughter. He wanted his funeral to be such an event. Burke always sought out the good in people and often brought those characteristics out in any given person. As a young boy in Buckhead Baseball, Dick also recalled Burke, firmly ensconced in right field where little or no action occurred, fielding a ground ball that made its way to the outfield. Rather than throw it back into the infield to hold the runner, Burke threw the ball to his friend in center field because: "he hasn't had a chance to field anything today, Dad, and deserves a chance to play too." In Burke's eyes, athletic contests should always end in ties, which, in his way of thinking, was a metaphor for everyone having special skills and traits and the world is a blend of those attributes. Sports were just a micro chasm of that world. Burke is survived by his father, brother, Owen Richard Boger (Maegan) and nephew James Owen Boger of New York, New York, aunts Margaret Owen Kimberly (Dan) of Hinsdale, Illinois and Judith Boger Schlimpert (James) of Stillwater, Oklahoma, cousins Laura Kimberly Glosniak (Michael), Avery McNeill and Maggie Morgan Glosniak of Chicago, Illinois and Katherine Burke Kimberly of Boulder, Colorado, along with a bevy of close friends and business associates. The void left by his passing will be forever unfilled by the unique character that was Burke. His father stated: "Burke and I always ended each meeting or conversation with the words: 'pals forever', and that is what he will always be to me." A funeral service will be held at All Saints' Episcopal Church, 634 West Peachtree Street, NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30308-1925 (www.allsaintsatlanta.org) at 10:30 AM, Thursday April 11, 2013, The Rev'd. Noelle York-Simmons officiating. The family will receive friends at a reception in Ellis Hall immediately following the service. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations in Burke's name be made to: Harriet O. Boger Fund, The Andrew McKelvey Lung Transplant Center, Emory University Hospital, c/o James Owen, Director of Development, 1365-B Clifton Road, Room 1403, Atlanta, Georgia, 30322; or Theatre Department, Office of Development, Episcopal High School, 1200 North Quaker Lane, Alexandria, Virginia 22302; or to an organization of your choice.

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Apr. 10, 2013