On Thursday, April 20, 2023, Timothy James Burke, age 71, of Apple Valley, Minnesota, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family.
Tim was born during the corn harvest of 1951 to Emmett and Regina Burke in New Hampton, Iowa. The fourth child of eight, he fondly recalled growing up on a dairy farm with a big family: from his first chore collecting eggs in the henhouse, to milking cows daily (even on holidays), to hosting his cousins from the city. Tim's childhood on the farm instilled in him his lifelong loves of agriculture, time spent outdoors and family.
At Iowa State University, Tim earned a B.S. in agricultural business, was active in his AGR fraternity, and took a year off from school to serve as National FFA President from 1971-72, traveling to, and speaking in, nearly every state in the U.S.
Tim met the love of his life, Susan Lynch, in 1979, and they married later that year. In 1981, Tim and Sue moved to Apple Valley, Minnesota, where they raised three sons. Tim loved being involved with his boys' activities. He coached sports teams and served as baseball league commissioner, organized pack events for Cub Scouts and attended many Boy Scout campouts. With Sue, he took the boys on camping trips to state parks across Minnesota. With friends, he took the boys on backpacking trips to the Grand Canyon, the Grand Tetons and more.
Tim worked in advertising at Martin Williams for 32 years, forging a beloved community of colleagues, clients and friends. He was active in his local community as well, serving as a member of the Apple Valley Planning Commission for 24 years. In retirement, he relished his new roles as a devoted crossword-puzzle partner to his wife, a pro bono handyman to his sons, and an up-for-anything playmate to his grandchildren. From making silly faces at the dinner table, to leading toddler "hikes" up the neighborhood "mountain," to giving rides around the yard in a toy tractor, Tim cherished his time with his grandchildren.
While his journey left the farm, Tim was always an Iowa farm boy at heart. He celebrated the harvest throughout his life: strawberry picking in the summer for his famous homemade ice cream, growing tomatoes for his annual batches of salsa, and delivering garden-fresh green beans and zucchini to friends and family.
Tim's limitless patience, gentle kindness and keen sense of humor will be dearly missed.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Emmett and Regina Burke; sister, Marcella Maarsen; brother-in-law, Larry Stewart; and grandnephew Jackson Stewart. He is survived by his wife, Susan; sons, Brian (Jennifer), Kevin (Jennifer) and Colin (Laura) Burke; grandchildren, Evelyn, Connor, Dylan, James, Rose and Charles Burke; siblings, Ray Burke, Jerry Burke, Kay Allen, Arlene Stewart, Joe Burke and Melanie Burke; and brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, and friends who felt like family.
A public memorial service will be held on Friday, May 19 at 10 a.m. in MacMillan Auditorium at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, located at 3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska, Minnesota.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to the National Park Foundation or the Grand Canyon Conservancy.