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John Burke

In Loving Memory

Burke, John Michael

January 24, 1952 - March 27, 2024

Passed peacefully Wednesday March 27, 2024.

Son of the late John and Jessie Burke; loving husband of Betty Burke (nee Testa); loving father of Gregory (Anna) Burke and Christopher (Ashley) Burke and beloved grandfather of Patrick, Charlie, Blake and Lane who will miss him dearly. John was a caring brother to his sister Patricia (Roger) Hallam, his brother Tom (Mary) Burke, the late Jim Burke and a brotherly closeness to his cousins, nieces and nephews. He was a great friend and mentor to many.

John joined the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in 1973 and retired from the department in 1994 as a Lieutenant of the C.I.D. unit. He was hired by Anheuser-Busch in 1994 and retired from AB in 2010 as Senior Director of Corporate Security. He holds a MBA from Lindenwood University and is a graduate of the F.B.I. National Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

John was a recipient of numerous awards, commendations and letters of achievement from local, state and federal areas of law enforcement. John has been with Guns ‘N Hoses for 36 years, starting with the original planning committee.

Services: Visitation at KUTIS AFFTON Chapel 10151 Gravois, Saturday April 6 9:00 AM until service at 1:00 PM. In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to The Backstoppers P.O. Box 795168 St. Louis, MO  63179 https://backstoppers.org/donate/ or Mercy Health Foundation 615 South New Ballas Rd. St. Louis, MO 63141, who took loving care of John.


27 thoughts on “Burke, John Michael”

  1. Our heartfelt sympathy to Betty, Greg, and Chris and there families. John was one of the best and will truly be missed by his family and friends. We are so sorry we will not be back in time for services but we will be there in thoughts and prayers. John was such a special person and was always fun to converse with.

  2. The State of Missouri, City of St. Louis and our country lost an American Patriot with the passing of John Michael Burke. A good man who was devoted to his loving wife Betty, his two sons and his daughter-in-laws and his grandchildren. John had many friends who loved him and I am proud to say he was my friend and we shared countless laughs together under sometimes extreme situations. John was gifted with an infectious smile, enough charisma and standing to be the envy of many. John loved his fellow Police Officers, all who served in the military and was a strong advocate for Guns and Hoses. John stretched his life to share with so many who needed help. Compassion was one of his many strengths. He was firm in his convictions of enforcing the law, standing up to bureaucratic bullies and those who spewed untruths. Rest in heavenly peace now John our prayers, tears and respect for you will remain with us forever. Condolences to Betty and his family.

  3. John Michael Burke was one of a kind. I first met John on May 29, 1973, our first day in the St. Louis City Police Academy. There were a few of us in that class who were Police Cadets, one being Ron Varner. That first day Ron and I hit it off with John so we invited him to lunch at the Mart Building next door to the Academy. We’ve been friends ever since. John and I along with Greg Skinner worked in the 3rd district, car 328 which covered the northeast side of the district. We later worked together as Narcotics Detectives. We had many great adventures doing the job we loved. I’m sure many of you have heard the stories narrated by John about those good old days. Nobody could match John’s enthusiasm as he would “spin a yarn”. After I moved on to work for DEA, John, Greg and I stayed in touch no matter where I was assigned. We loved our Cardinals and after AB was taken over by InBev, John called me and asked if I would be interested in going in on some seats right behind the Cardinals dugout. Two River Rats living the dream at Busch Stadium. Who’d a thunk it? Above all else John loved his family. He was always bragging about them, especially Betty. He was a special man, honest, trustworthy, dependable, caring, kind, very smart, tough, in short the kind of man that I would never hesitate to go through any door with. Glenda and I will miss you Johnny Boy. You undoubtedly have left an indelible mark on the people whose lives you have touched.

  4. John and Betty Burke are like family to my wife Es and myself… We met both John and Betty since John was a partner with my late Brother in Law Greg Skinner when they both served in the St.Louis police department….Many happy days were spent
    At the Lake in Illinois where John learned to water ski.. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but as typical of Burke.. he mastered it and became quite respectable.. even though Skinner tried to drown him….John and Greg would always bring the ubiquitous “pork steaks”to do on the grill.. with BBQ sauce from Phil’s in St. Louis.. We all really got tired of pork steaks .. but the boys enjoyed bringing and cooking.. with many Burke stories and laughs…They both will be sorely missed…….We love you John and will hold you dear in our hearts until we meet again…. Love, Brad and Es….

  5. Our heartfelt condolences to Betty and his family. May God bless him and his love ones. It was a great honor working with John. He was a true professional in all of his endeavors. GOD SPEED!

  6. Betty & Family and Pat and Roger,
    We are so sorry for your loss. Although we never got to meet John, we learned to love him through the stories and your sharing with us, who John was. How a loving father he was. How he loved being a grandpa. What he did for his community, who he was as a brother and brother-in-law and who he was after he came to know Jesus as his savior.

    We love you and know John will greet us some day at heaven’s gate,

    Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers

  7. We are heartbroken to hear of John’s passing. He was so good to our family and will be truly missed. I can only bet he and our John are having a Bud together on the other side.

    With love,
    The Britt family

  8. Growing up, I heard plenty of stories about Dad’s childhood from my Grandparents and Dad that included his childhood best friend, Burke ♥️
    As I grew up, I only knew Burke to be a great man myself. He was instrumental in helping us raise money for Dad in a time of need and instrumental in helping us heal after Dad passed. He always had great stories and perspectives that made us laugh or grounded us in love. We appreciated all the messages of hope and understanding through those tough times.

    Sending all our love, hugs and condolences to Betty, Greg, Chris, Anna, Ashley and kids. I have no doubt he will be an amazing angel for all of you.

  9. Thanks John for all you did for Gun’s and Hoses. You were an inspiration to many cops in the SLPD . RIP now brother. See you around some day.

  10. John was a great guy. He helped me when I was a muni cop solve a homicide. He will always be remembered for his relentless efforts and support of Guns and Hoses.
    May God hold him gently in the palms of his hands has the angels sing of his arrival.

  11. Our dear cousin Johnny was a man to be admired, a role model, smart ,funny , and loved to tell stories. He was always there….always there to lend a helping hand, always there to share important events like graduations, weddings, sports games. John loved Betty with all his heart, and their life together was anything but easy, but they were always there for each other. John was so proud of his boys Greg and Chris, and their families. He loved his grandchildren and was quick to show pictures or tell stories about their achievements. Johnny was a stand up guy who touched so many lives with his kindness, generosity and wisdom. He loved family most of all and I will be forever grateful for the reunions he organized. We cousins had some crazy times growing up, but we can look back on it now and laugh. Johnny’s smile and the twinkle in his eye will be missed. He will be missed, and forever loved. Rest easy, dear Cuz.

  12. John will be remembered for many great achievements in his life. He was a Man’ s Man. I will cherish John the loyal loving husband, generous father, grandfather, and devoted sibling and friend to all.

    God thank you for John. You did not send many like him for us. We will miss him sorely but cherish every day the time he was with us.

    When I grow up, I want to be like Johnny Burke.

  13. I remember when I met John in the 3rd District. He was a mans man. He was one of the most generous persons I ever met. He was truly a great person and family man. He will be sorely missed. When God made him, he was one of kind. Condolences to Betty and Family.

    He was a blessing to all.

  14. I have known John Burke my entire life. He is my hero for a long list of reasons, the following are a few of them.
    John stepped up hard from an early age to take care of his brothers, sister, and parents. I won’t go into details, but his mother was a saint. His father was not.
    John grew up on South Jefferson Ave. For those of you who aren’t familiar with St. Louis City, this was not an affluent part of town. This is an excellent example of not letting your birth zip code dictate who or what you will be.
    John grew up fast. His sharp mind, quick wit, and unique athletic ability became legendary. John was tough, loyal, and caring.
    I watched John rise through the ranks of the St. Louis police department. Arrests and convictions, he loved taking the bad guys off the streets. Burke and Skinner, that could be a movie. Well, maybe not.
    I watched John help so many people.
    Missouri School for the Blind and Guns and Hoses/BackStoppers are just a few organizations he spent time and resources helping. While doing all this, he also got his master’s degree.
    But it’s the people he helped with every problem you can think of and more than a few I can’t mention. If you came to John for advice or a favor, let me see a show of hands. If you are reading this, you’ll probably fall into that category.
    The Anheuser-Bush years.
    Again, John rose to a prominent position while taking care of his family, extended family, and friends. He was a kid from South St. Louis who flew all over the world on a private jet to ensure the safety of AB’s upper echelon. He solved problems.
    John and Betty set the bar for parenting and grandparenting. There is no limit to the time and energy they have given. Over the years, John sent me hundreds of pictures of his grandkids. It was the softest side of him I ever knew.
    When the time comes, and it will for all of us, will we have made a difference?
    John Burke made a difference.
    I love ya, John, hope to see you on the other side.

    • I thank you Mike, for your comments and history of John Burkes life. Your comments and the other comments I have read have allowed me to have a better understanding of who John was, whom he loved, what he loved and the benefit he was to humankind. A person who works to make individual lives better works to make the entire world a better place. My thoughts and prayers are with each of you who were touched by John in a very personal way.

  15. May I say first that Mike Burke’s comments above beautifully capture John Burke. (We will be the first in line to see the Burke and Skinner movie.)

    John was a man of honor, a loving husband, father and grandfather. A storyteller. Thoughtful. Faithful. Filled with warmth and good humor.

    It was our great honor to share being grandparents to the next generation of Burkes. We will miss him forever.

  16. John Burke was a kind, thoughtful, caring and warm person with a great sense of humor. He was a great husband, father and grandfather who will always be missed. God speed, John.

  17. I first met John 19 years ago when he hired me to be a security guard for Anheuser Busch. Prior to that, I was raised on stories about John and many in his inner circle as told by my father, who met John when he was a young police officer in the 3rd district.

    John was one of those cops all other cops sincerely respected and admired. I will always be eternally grateful for having the opportunity to have met him.

    My heartfelt condolences go to his family and friends. John will surely be missed.

  18. Pat & Roger, words cannot express the feelings that often accompany the absence of the body for a loved one of ours. Joanna and I send our most heart felt condolences for the loss from this life of your beloved brother, John Michael Burke. We hope it is a great comfort in this time of sorrow, and always in the days and years ahead, to know that the talks you both had with John give you the peace of mind that John is present with the Lord. We hope and pray that the sadness of this time is comforted by the presence of the Holy Spirit who will bring you strength, rest for your body and mind, continual guidance, and an inner peace for today and always as you continue in this journey through this life on earth.

    As you Celebrate John’s lifetime, I hope the joy, love, and comfort that he brought to all of you remains constant in your thoughts and memories. From you informing us of some of John’s life and reading comments and John’s obituary, it is obvious to us that John lived a life very much well lived. Our thoughts and prayers are with you both, John’s wife Betty, and your entire families.

    Roger & Pat, we miss you both and are sending prayers for your protection for your time in St. Louis and until you can return to Michigan safely. May your entire families thoughts of John be of the great love and joy he brought into your lives, and may the sadness of today and the sadness to come, slip from your memories so that the laughter and joy of your brother, John, remain in the forefront of all yours and your entire families future memories.

    Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2nd Corinthians 5:6-8 NIV

    Mark & Joanna Taylor

  19. John will be remembered for the mentor he was and his story telling. Could he ever get you to laugh with some of the stories he would tell. It was a great privilege in my lifetime to meet and know John. He will be greatly missed by us all. My prayers, heart and condolences are with Betty and the rest of the Burke Family! God Bless and RIP John!

  20. A good and honorable man. A leader on and off the department, field and wherever life took him. Thanks for the memories brother👊🏻 ❤️
    Rest easy and as we said to Mark Gartland, “Save me a seat on the bench”..

  21. My Uncle Johnny couldn’t have been a better uncle to me. He was tough for sure, but he was a big teddy bear too. I could have listened to his stories all day. I’m sure he watered them down for my ears, but he was the best story teller I’ve ever known. As I grew up I admired his work ethic and loyalty to family and friends, but especially to my Grandma, Mom, Uncle Tommy and Uncle Jimmy. He taught me the importance of family, working hard in any job you have and being one those you love can count on. I have to add he couldn’t have done any of it without the most supportive wife, my Aunt Betty. When Scott and I changed our wedding plans and threw it together in a week, Uncle Johnny and Aunt Betty found a place for our small reception. Of course it was perfect, and they made it one of our favorite memories. He was the most helpful, giving and caring man almost to a fault. If he loved you, you felt it no matter the distance or time between visits. I will always be grateful for the love and kindness he showed me.

  22. John and I went to grade and high school together. All nice memories! Betty and family, I am so sorry for your loss. 💙

  23. I knew John before I had even met him in person. Through the years of friendship with Mike Burke, I came to learn what a great man John Burke is to so many around him. Honorable, trustworthy, caring and a tough guy when needed. A great judge of character and if he liked you, he would truly do anything for you. I am more than grateful for the times I got to sit with him and hear his stories. These memories will forever be with me. Thank you John. Prayers to Betty and the Burke family.

  24. Irish Blessing for my Brother John.

    May the road rise up to meet you
    May the wind always be at your back
    May the sunshine warm upon your face and the rain fall soft upon your fields
    And until we meet gain May GOD hold you in the Hollow Of His Hand.

    See you on the other side!

    Shawn and Vickie in Arizona


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