Lawrence Charles Burke

WEST GARDINER – Lawrence Charles Burke, 89, of West Gardiner passed away peacefully in the early morning on Friday, April 9, 2021 with his family by his side, in his home where he had lived with his wife for 68 years. He was born on May 8, 1931 in Gardiner, one of 10 children of George and Beatrice Burke of Randolph.

He met the love of his life while working at the Gardiner shoe shop and married Barbara Lawrence on Jan. 30, 1953 at St. Joseph’s Church in Gardiner and together they raised six children.

He worked at the Gardiner Commonwealth Bostonian Shoe Factory for several years until it closed in 1979. Later he went to work at BIW until his retirement in May 1997.

Lawrence and Barbara built a camp on the East Shore of Embden Pond back in 1959, where they made many memories of swimming, fishing, boating, hunting and ice fishing. There were always a lot of extra kids along with their own children, who enjoyed all the fun times with the family. Family memories are still being made on the lake, as the camp remains in the family.

Lawrence was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and ice fishing, especially going with all his children and grandchildren. He was with them when they shot their first deer, caught their biggest fish, and they were there when he shot his last deer.

Lawrence and Barbara always heated the home with wood, and it was a family event to get the wood out from their land, hauling the firewood out in the old Willy Jeep, taking the Willy down into the “hell hole” and on Monkey Lane. With help from all the neighborhood kids, the wood got stacked quicker. The old Willy Jeep is still on the property. Also, he could always be seen at all his children’s and grandchildren’s sports events from basketball, football, wrestling, softball, field hockey, baseball, where he was their biggest fan!!!!

The children remember Santa Claus coming every year, but their father was always in the barn “milking the cows” when Santa arrived; they never knew it was him. He always liked to joke with the kids and their girl/boyfriends when he would meet them for the first time and say, “you’re not the same one I met last week!” He had a great a sense of humor and a big smile.

Lawrence was an active grandfather with all his grandchildren and was known to rock each one, singing “baa, baa black sheep”.

Lawrence enjoyed day trips with his wife, her sister, Beverly, going to the coast for lobster, eating a good breakfast out, going to the local fairs, and church suppers. He enjoyed growing a big garden and the homemade relish, pickles, and canned vegetables made by Barbara. They raised heifers, pigs and had many farm animals growing up and always had beagle dogs with their favorite being Daisy.

He and Barbara enjoyed square dancing in their younger days. He looked forward to his children and grandchildren’s visits and there was always someone visiting. He and Barbara enjoyed sitting on their front porch, watching, and feeding the birds and helped with the care of her beautiful flowers.

Lawrence is predeceased by his wife Barbara, who passed on Feb. 21, 2021 and they are reunited together again. He is predeceased by his parents; sisters, Catherine, Mary, Anna, Constance, Madeline and brothers, Vincent, Hubert, and Frank; and their last beagle, Daisy.

He is survived by his daughters, Cynthia Bonenfant and husband, Arthur Jr. of Randolph, Cathey Leavitt and husband, William of Farmingdale, and sons, Michael and wife, Belinda Burke of Readfield, Mark and wife, Mary Ellen Burke of West Gardiner, Frank and wife, Kimberly Burke of Freeport, and Alan and wife, Cathi Burke of Farmington; as well as 13 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Frances Galvani and her husband, Thomas of Whitefield/Florida; and his sister-in-law, Beverly Whitmore Carleton and her family; and his brother-in-law, Wayne Macomber of West Gardiner.

At his request there will be no services and burial will be in May, around his 90th Birthday, together with his wife. In his memory, take a walk in the woods, go fishing and spend time with your family.

Arrangements are under the care of Staples Funeral Home, 53 Brunswick Ave., Gardiner and Oak Grove Cremation, Gardiner.

Condolences, memories and photos may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the funeral home website familyfirstfuneralhomes.com.

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