Henry Robert Burke, 72, well known Underground Railroad historian and author, of Marietta, died at Marietta Memorial Hospital on Saturday morning (May 5, 2012).
He was born on Jan. 21, 1940, in Columbus, Ohio, and was the son of the late W. M. Hart and Freda Mae Burke Dickerson. He had been a foreman for the National Operating Engineers Local 18 for 35 years.
Henry was a horseman. He was a historian and had written several books and had received hundreds of awards for his research and study of the history of the Underground Railroad. His latest award being, "Man of the Year," presented to him by the Belpre Historical Society. He faithfully donated his time to talk to the local schools about the Underground Railroad for the past 20 years. He was a nature lover. He was also a pioneer in the strip mining industry in this area. He received his associate degree from Washington State Community College, the school he helped prepare the land to build. He spent nine years serving in the Army and part of that in Germany during the Cold War.
Henry is survived by his wife, Terri Burke of Marietta; two daughters, Angela Burke of Germany, Kimberly Marie Burke of Marietta; five sons, Christian and Gregory Burke of Germany, Paul A. and Jay D. Burke of Canton, Ohio, and Maxwell D. Burke of Marietta, Ohio; two grandchildren, Julia and Benjamin of Germany; sister, Roseanna Forte of Akron, Ohio; brother, Ed Smith of Washington, D.C.; and a lifetime friend, Janet Fogle of Marietta.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his grandparents, Anna and John Burke; two brothers, William Forte and Charlie Hart Fogle.
Memorial services will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday at Leavitt Funeral Home, Belpre, with Denver Norman officiating. The family will greet friends for one hour prior to services. Military services will conducted by Parkersburg Post 15 of the American Legion.
Memorial contributions in Henry's memory may be made to the Belpre Historical Society, P.O. Box 731, Belpre, Ohio, 45714; and the National Kidney Foundation, 1373 Grandview Ave. #200, Columbus, Ohio, 43212
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.LeavittFuneralHome.com.