Father John R. Burke, a native of Rochester and longtime priest of the Diocese of Erie, Pa., died Feb. 5, 2013, at his Brighton residence. He was 85 years old.
Father Burke was a 1945 graduate of Aquinas Institute. He attended Sampson College in Geneva and St. Bonaventure University and Christ the King Seminary in Olean. He was ordained to the priesthood May 27, 1954, at St. Peter Cathedral in Erie, Pa.
He went on to receive his master of arts degree from St. Bonaventure in 1955 and doctorate in philosophy from Fordham University in 1968. He also was a veteran of the United States Navy.
Father Burke served briefly as assistant pastor at Holy Redeemer Parish in Warren, Pa. In 1955 he joined the faculty of Gannon College where he was a professor of philosophy. In 1970 he began teaching at Canisius College in Buffalo. Subsequent appointments included serving as part-time faculty member at Mercyhurst College in Erie; assistant pastor, St. Patrick Parish, Erie; administrator, St. Bernadette Parish, Saegertown, Pa., with chaplaincy duties at San Rosario Nursing Home; St. Teresa Parish, Union City, Pa.; the L'Arche Community in Edmonton, Alberta; and the Archdiocese of Yucatan, Mexico, as part of the Mission of Friendship. He retired from active ministry in 2008.
Father Burke is survived by his brother, Michael (Judie) Burke; sisters, Mary Jean Rowan and Sharon (Paul) Miller; sister-in-law, Joyce Burke; and several nieces and nephews.
His funeral Mass will be celebrated by Erie Bishop Lawrence T. Persico Feb. 9, 2013, at 10 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church, 2400 W. Ridge Road, Greece. Interment will follow at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Four Walls Project, care of Journeys of Solutions, PO Box 28, Webster, NY 14580.