October 10, 1954 - February 17, 2019
Michael Stephen Burke, most recently of Lower Paxton Township, PA passed away on Sunday, February 17, 2019. Hopefully, the following paragraphs will add some insight into his life as Michael believed it is better to celebrate the existence of a life than mourn its passing, so we will refer to the following as a “life notice.” The beginning is always a good place to start, so let’s start there. Michael was born at what was then known as the Bon Secours Hospital in Methuen MA, to Walter S. and Helen M., (McLoughlin), Burke of North Andover, MA. on October 10th, 1954. When he arrived home at 9 Chadwick Street in North Andover, Michael was introduced to his two older brothers, Tommy and John. Michael had a stereotypical, small town, late 1950’s, 1960’s up-bringing. There was a playground up the street which had a picnic table, water bubbler, ball-field and basketball courts. It seems like from the time you could walk you were allowed to stroll up to the playground with your friends. One would have a football, one a baseball and bat, and one a basketball. Depending on how many others were there would decide what sport was being played for that time period. It was not unusual to play all three on any given day. In the winter, you would walk about a mile and one half and spend the day playing pond hockey while tending to a roasting fire, and keeping an eye on your ice-fishing flags. In looking back, the neighborhood was typical middle class, but class was not thought of at the time, for life seemed to have everything a young boy needed; a good size yard, the aforementioned playground, bows and arrows, woods nearby, bicycles, neighborhood pals, a dog and even a goose. The milk box served two purposes; a place for the milkman to place the delivery in, and a place where everyone placed their house keys under when they went away for the day. Sunday afternoons were reserved for a gathering of the extended family; grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins and dear family friends who would enjoy each other’s company while enjoying a great dinner. Food, interesting stories and laughter were always in abundance on these afternoons . Though not recognized as such at the time, this was also a setting for the young ones to receive an oral history of their family and ancestry. Michael’s parents sent all of the boys to parochial elementary school. Michael was second generation American. As it hopefully continues today, children were taught that they could and should become anything they chose to become, but it required two key elements; hard work and education. The school was just a little less than a mile away, and the forms of transportation were walking or riding a bike. The trips to and from school with classmates would turn into mini adventures of their own. During his so called formative years, say eight years of age to eighteen, the following events took place and inventions introduced that changed the world, at least Michael’s world; Beatles introduced to America, man landing on the moon, Rock and Roll FM stations, JFK’s Inaugural Address, the 2nd Ecumenical Council, milk sold in plastic containers, civil rights protests, zip codes, transistor radios, Martin Luther King Jr.’s “ I Had a Dream” speech, JFK’s assassination, UHF television stations, Woodstock, government anti-war protests, area codes for telephone numbers, passage of the Civil Rights Bill, voting age changed to 18, Bobby Orr’s “The Goal”, Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated, 8 tracks, the “Summer of Love,” Bobby Kennedy assassinated, muscle cars and the “67” Impossible Dream Team Red Sox. Michael attended North Andover High School. After high school, Michael went to work with dreams of making his millions while attending college at night. In 1973, Michael married Ellen Nussbaum. Nine years later they had their first and only child, a daughter, Katherine Elizabeth. Katherine has always been a source of great pride, joy and love. Michael worked in the high tech manufacturing industry within the greater Merrimack Valley for approximately thirty years eventually being promoted to roles such as Director of Operations and Planning. Michael eventually started his own consulting practice supporting a variety of businesses within the industry. Michael was very pleased that his schedule allowed him some flexibility to spend time with his parents during their later and last years. Since 1996, Michael has been sharing his life with Marianne Baker, formerly of Salem, NH. Marianne has been his partner and the source of Michael’s love and enjoyment over the last twenty three years. In 2004, Marianne’s work took her to the west coast. Michael would commute between coasts. During that time they grew to love the Bay Area. In 2008, work again caused a move, this time to Lower Paxton Township in Pennsylvania, where they both enjoyed life and the kindness of many neighbors and new found friends. Michael loved the Willow Brook Community and truly enjoyed the many friendships developed there In the late summer of 2018, Michael and Marianne decided it was time to return back to New England and settled for a home in Hampstead, NH. Michael looked forward to the following spring when he could plant his flowers and enjoy the view of the woods beyond the stone wall which borders the back of the property. Michael and Marianne’s move back to New England is in process. Michael is pre-deceased by his parents, Walter and Helen and his brother John. In his passing, Michael leaves his beloved Marianne, his loved and loving daughter Katherine and her husband Derek Nichols and his beautiful and wonderful grandchildren, Hayley Brianna and Brayden Michael of Merrimack NH, step daughter Megan and husband Steven Arlitt and their son, Robby of Hampstead NH. He also leaves his brother Thomas and wife Brenda of Salem, NH, Ellen Burke, Katherine’s Mother of East Hampstead, NH, sister in law Debbie of Chester, NH , three wonderful nephews, two fabulous nieces, three beautiful great-nieces and three great grand-nephews. Michael also leaves behind many wonderful and caring neighbors and friends in both Salem, NH and Lower Paxton Township, PA. I would be remiss in not including Mac, Fenway and Bruin to this list, Michael and Marianne’s family dogs over the years. Mac passed in 2017 and was waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for Michael. Mac always liked to take the lead. Michael would like to thank the staff of the Penn State Hershey Medical Center Cancer Institute for their hard work, competence, thoughtfulness and the kindness he was shown since the fall of 2011 through his date of passing In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center Cancer Institute, otherwise, committing a random act of kindness, as often as you can, while thinking of Michael would be appreciated. A kind remembrance over a good laugh would be plus. This writer hopes that the above achieved its purpose in providing some insight into Michael’s enviable and full life. Michael wished it had been longer, but then who doesn’t. This writer will end the story here, for in the words of a great New England poet whose writings Michael always took pleasure in reading, “I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep…and miles to go before I sleep.” Friends and guests are invited to call on Friday, March 1, 2019 from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM at the Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home, 233 Lawrence St. Methuen. A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019 at 10:00 AM at the funeral home. Interment to follow at a later date. For directions and online guestbook, please visit the funeral home website, www.pollardfuneralhome.com. The Kenneth H. Pollard Funeral Home is honored to serve the Burke Family.
Michael Stephen Burke, most recently of Lower Paxton Township, PA passed away on Sunday, February 17, 2019. Hopefully, the following paragraphs will add some insight into his life as Michael believed it is better to celebrate the existence... View Obituary & Service Information
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