Sax-playing Father Henry Burke dies at 86

CONWAY — Father Henry J. Burke died Sept. 9. He was 86.

The Mass of Christian Burial was held today at St. James Church. The burial was private.

Father Burke was born July 5, 1918, in Red Bank, N.J., a son of the late Harry and Mary Cogan Burke.

He attended St. James Elementary School and High School and graduated from St. Charles College in Catonsville, Md., and Immaculate Conception Seminary in Darlington, N.J. He was ordained March 17, 1945, in Trenton, N.J., and joined the Fathers of the Glenmary Missioners that year.

As a missioner from 1945-1951, he was assigned to St. Peter Church in Cheraw as well as parishes in Ohio and Georgia. He resigned from the missionaries and was incardinated into the Diocese of Charleston in 1951.

From 1951 to 1991, Father Burke served at St. Ann in Kingstree, Our Lady Star of the Sea in North Myrtle Beach, Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood, St. Peter in Beaufort, St. Peter in Columbia, Our Lady of the Hills in Columbia, St. James in Conway, St. Mark in Newberry, Chapin Mission, St. Andrew in Myrtle Beach, St. Anthony in Ridgeland, St. Mary in Hampton, and St. Mary and St. Cyprian churches in Georgetown, with missions in Andrews and McClellanville. He retired in 1995, the year of his 50th anniversary as a priest.

After retiring, Father Burke assisted parishes throughout Horry, Georgetown and Florence counties. He celebrated Masses in English and Spanish, served as chaplain for Mercy Hospice, and ministered to hospitals and nursing homes. He also played saxophone with the Grand Strand Concert Band in Myrtle Beach. As a high school graduate, he toured in the Maj. Bowes Amateur Unit, a radio variety show, for a year.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. James Church Hispanic Outreach, 1071 Academy Drive, Conway, SC 29526;  Resurrection Church Building Fund, 1929 Business 9 East, Loris, SC 29569; or Mercy Hospice, P.O. Box 50640, Myrtle Beach, SC 29579.