William T. Burke
Professor William T. Burke, 87, of Seattle, Washington, died July 4, 2014 with his family by his side. He died of complications following heart surgery. Professor Burke was an internationally distinguished scholar serving on the faculty of both the UW School of Law and the UW School of Marine Affairs from 1968 to 1996. He was born in 1926 in Brazil, Indiana. After completing high school and a brief stint in the U.S. Army, he commenced his academic career by obtaining his Bachelor's Degree from Indiana State University, in 2.5 years and at the top of his class, followed by his law degree in 1953. He attended Yale Law School where he obtained his Doctorate in Juridical Science (JSD) degree in 1959. While at Yale, he met his wife, Feliciana, a fellow graduate student. Following the publication of his first book in 1962, Professor Burke was recognized as the outstanding authority on international law of the sea and remained a scholarly and policy leader on the world scene for many years. By his retirement, he had been widely published in over 300 law journals, served as an expert and lecturer throughout the world, influenced generations of professionals, and substantially shaped the law, policy, and many institutions related to the law of the ocean. In his retirement years, Professor Burke read voraciously, closely followed current events, and rooted for Seattle area sports teams. He was a committed husband, a dedicated father and was unwaveringly devoted to the well-being of his developmentally disabled daughter, Kathryn Burke, who preceded him in death. He also enjoyed the little things: his grandchildren's artwork, sweet local strawberries, and roses in full bloom, his view of the snowcapped Cascades, and the development and history of Magnuson Park, where he walked daily. Professor Burke is survived by his beloved spouse of 55 years; his children William V. Burke of Honolulu, HI and Liza E. Burke of Seattle, WA; his three grandchildren and his great grandson. A memorial will be held on August 10, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 NE 41st St., Seattle, WA 98105. Memorial donations may be made to The Arc of King County or Banchero Disability Partners.
Published in The Seattle Times on Jul. 13, 2014.