William “Bill” Gene Burke

January 30, 1938 - January 9, 2020

William “Bill” Gene Burke passed away suddenly following a fall at his home in Cape Coral, FL on January 9, 2020. He would have been age 82 on January 30. Bill was born in Flint, MI to William and Gladys Burke, now deceased. 

Bill attended Flint Central High School, where he played football and then joined the Navy at age 17. During his 25 year Navy career, Bill served on 12 ships and 3 tours in Vietnam. His last duty station was at Little Creek, VA with the Navy Seal Underwater Demolition Team 22. He retired at the rank of Petty Officer First Class.  Following his retirement from the Navy, Bill joined the Norfolk, VA Police Department and retired after 20 years of service then moved to Dublin, GA. There he served as the Post Commander of American Legion Post 17. William leaves a proud legacy of life long service to his country, to the citizens of Norfolk, and to the Veterans of Post 17. He is sadly missed by the good friends he made as a Legionnaire and is fondly remembered by his best friends, William Blickenstaff, Tim Kosten, and Keith Smith. Bill was able to enjoy his hobbies of hunting, fishing, boating and bowling. He was a collector of history books and civil war memorabilia. He was an avid fan of the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions.

In addition to his career and hobbies, Bill raised a daughter, Becki, a son, David, as well as six step children. Two wives and two brothers preceded him in death.  He is survived by his loving wife, Theresa Sapp Burke. His surviving children and stepchildren are: Rebecca (Dave) Peters of Ocean Springs, MS, David (Cindy)Burke of Virginia Beach, VA, John Keely, Liz Keely (Mike) Kastner, Jean Keely, Richard Kozlowski, Steven Kozlowski, Kelly Kozlowski Ferrell. He also leaves 12 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren; William has four surviving sisters, Shelby (George) Wilhelm of Plainfield, IN, Shirly Miller of Tampa, FL, Anna Jean (Neil)Gates of Ft. Walton Beach, FL, and Julie (Doug) Green of New Baltimore MI.

 The family’s plans are to place his ashes at rest in the National Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Georgia and also to hold a Celebration of Life Service were his ashes will be scattered on the Chesapeake Bay near his favorite fishing spot. These arrangements will be made at a later date.

Contributions in memory of William Gene Burke are suggested to Wounded Veterans and Disabled Veterans of Foreign Wars, 4899 Belfort Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32256.

 Mullins Memorial Funeral Home and Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.


  1. Ronna Schamerhorn Jan 25, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    We are saddened to learn of Bill’s passing and remember him fondly. May he rest in peace and know the loving presence of the Lord. We extend our sympathies to the families and pray that your grief become wonderful memories of his life.
    Ronna and Mark Schamerhorn
    Paul Conley

  2. James Russell Sapp Feb 8, 2020 at 11:50 pm

    When my mother told me of his passing late that night I remembered how much he loved my mother and I knew that she would miss him very much. When he greets his maker I’m sure that He’ll say to him, welcome aboard sailor.

  3. Ann Sapp Feb 9, 2020 at 12:11 am

    Even though I didn’t get to know Bill very well, I could tell that he was a man dedicated to his country, community, and family, and he brought much joy and love into my Mother-In Law’s life. I wish I’d had more time to get to know him better. He touched many lives and will be missed by all who loved him.

  4. William Blickenstaff Feb 11, 2020 at 11:53 am

    Hey Burke! We had a long friendship and many good times . Vera and I will miss you and always treasure your friendship. Hope to see you when we cross over the Great Divide. Bill and Vera Blickenstaff

  5. Julia and Doug Green Feb 12, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    Terry, Words can not express my sadness in Bill’s passing. We enjoyed our visit with you and Bill in Nov. I will keep you in my prayers and thoughts. Please keep us updated on wherever you are. Hugs, Julie and Doug Green

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