Peter J. Burke, 81, Little Compton

Posted 11/8/19

Peter J. Burke, 81, of Newtonville, Mass., and Little Compton, died on October 30, 2019. He was the beloved husband of Marion (Mattoon) Burke; loving father of Jay C. Burke and his wife Teresa of …

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Peter J. Burke, 81, Little Compton

Posted

Peter J. Burke, 81, of Newtonville, Mass., and Little Compton, died on October 30, 2019. He was the beloved husband of Marion (Mattoon) Burke; loving father of Jay C. Burke and his wife Teresa of Framingham; grandfather of Fiona and Sebastian Burke; and brother of Caroline Venusti and her husband Robert of Little Compton. 

Peter was raised in Lexington. He was fiercely loyal to the people and institutions that helped shape him.  He put a premium on preserving friendships and relationships, especially those at the Belmont Hill School and the College of the Holy Cross. He was blessed to spend 50 years of marriage with the love of his life, Marion, whom he admired and adored. They shared a passion for travel and took family trips to Europe and Costa Rica.

Peter loved the land and gardening. He worked for many years for Clappers in West Newton and Larchmont Engineering as a landscape lighting and irrigation designer.  His idea of leisure activity was to mount his trusty tractor and spend hours mowing his acres of grass in Little Compton.  His goal was to have a passerby stop and ask if this was the local golf course.

Among his talents, he was widely known to be unparalleled in his ability to converse with and relate to everyone he encountered.  He truly represented the saying, “There are no strangers. Only friends you’ve yet to meet”. 

Most of all, Peter adored his family, friends and “the fellas”. He was unfailingly proud of his son, Jay.  They were each other’s heroes. He so loved his daughter in law, Teresa.  After meeting her for the first time, Peter said, “Jay doesn’t know it yet, but he’s a goner”.  Granddaughter Fiona lit up his life. Every birthday and Christmas, Peter selected a charm for her bracelet that represented some part of her life. Grandson Sebi was a never-ending source of joy to Peter. They were masters of silly humor.  While few of his friends knew the origin of Peter’s patriarchal nickname, “Ofa”, none would be really surprised to learn of its derivation: indeed, “old fart”.

He will be sorely missed, but he will live forever in our hearts and lives.

His Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, Nov 16, at noon in Our Lady Help of Christians Church, 573 Washington St., Newton. A gathering to celebrate his life will be held from 1-4 p.m. at The Social Restaurant, 320 Washington Street, Newton Corner, at the Crown Plaza Hotel.

In lieu of flowers, a donation in memory of Peter may be made to the Sakonnet Preservation Association, PO Box 945, Little Compton, RI 02837.(sakonnetpreservation.org); or to the Pan Mass Challenge at PMC, 77 4th Avenue, Needham, MA 02494 (pmc.org). ­­­­­­­­­­­­

To share a memory of Peter, please visit www.eatonandmackay.com

 

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.