Mark William Burke passed away suddenly on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at his home in Westfield,
New Jersey. He was 65 years young. His sharp intellect, deep humanity, insatiable curiosity
and fun-loving sense of adventure endeared him to his family, friends and coworkers. A dearly
loved husband, father, son, brother and uncle, his lasting gifts to us all are the countless
memories that he lovingly helped create.
Mark was born in Chicago, Illinois, on August 18, 1953 to Harry and Magda Burke and, along
with his two brothers, spent most of his youth in Livonia, Michigan. He graduated from the
University of Michigan and did master's level work in military history, reveling in every course he
took and emerging as both an intellectually equipped lifelong scholar of history and a devout
Wolverine. While living in Ann Arbor, Mark married his college sweetheart, Sara Jane Larson.
Together they welcomed two children, Karl and Leah into their world.
Mark's first job after graduation was on the transmission line at Hydra-matic Division of General
Motors, where he gained the statistical quality control certification that became the foundation of
his life-long career. In 1991, Mark and his family moved to Westfield, New Jersey where Mark
became a quality systems engineer with the Colgate-Palmolive Corporation. Later he worked
as a senior manager and director of quality for Elizabeth Arden and then Revlon | Elizabeth
Arden. Mark was a well-respected coworker with a quiet ability to act as a mentor to others.
A quality specialist by training, Mark lived out those talents in his personal life. Those who knew
him well, especially his family, benefited from his unbounded curiosity and insatiable quest for
quality in all things. He was a massive reader, a music enthusiast and film buff, travel planner
extraordinaire, master cook and curator of all things good. His ever growing personal library of
books and his daily thorough consuming of his beloved New York Times meant his mind
expanded with the universe every day. He had a lovely habit of connecting his discoveries with
people in his life who would delight in them. This quality made him a great conversationalist, a
champion of the interests of others and the bestower of the most personalized and thoughtful
He was preceded in death by his father Harry Walter Burke, and his maternal aunt, Irene Olga
Oelschlaeger. He is survived by his wife, Sara Larson Burke, his son, Karl Larson Burke
(Breana Rudolph), daughter, Leah Claire Burke (Dillon Schoenberg), his mother, Magdalena
Oelschlaeger Burke, and his brothers, James S. Burke and Michael S. Burke (Donna Kusper
Burke) and beloved nieces and nephews.
A memorial service to be held Saturday, October 5, 2019 at 11:00 AM with lunch reception
following at the Presbyterian Church in Bound Brook, 409 Mountain Ave, Bound Brook, NJ
08805. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Doctors without Borders or the
charity of one's choice.