Thomas Francis Burke
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Thomas Francis Burke, "Tommy," 93, went to be with his Lord and Savior 6 June 2020. Tommy was a native Texan, born 2 July 1926 in Fort Worth to Thomas Francis Burke, Sr. and Louise McChesney Burke. Tommy grew up in Houston. His father was assistant golf pro at River Oaks Country Club, Tommy's training ground for his future vocation of professional golfer.
From an early age he participated in junior club and city tournaments, and made his first of 16 holes-in-one at age 11 at Memorial Golf Course! Tommy graduated from Lamar High School and Rice University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and played on the golf team as captain at both institutions.
In 1950, he married his one and only blind date, Joyce Pendarvis of Pasadena, a recent RN graduate of Memorial Hospital Nursing School in Houston.
Tommy worked briefly for Evans Engineering of Houston, then turned pro shortly after winning the Houston Amateur in 1951. He held assistant pro jobs at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, Seminole Golf Club in Florida, and Shoreacres in Illinois. He played briefly on the national pro tour circuit, then in 1956, he decided his growing family needed him. He accepted the head pro job at Rolling Acres Country Club in Corpus Christi. When that course closed, he worked at Suntide Refinery before he became head pro at the Corpus Christi Country Club in 1958. In 1962, he won the Texas PGA at Oso Golf Course in Corpus Christi, and in 1966 he won the AMF/Ben Hogan Design Board Championship in Fort Worth. All his life he encouraged players to love the game, especially junior golfers, the future of the sport. After 30 years and his first of several battles with cancer, Tommy retired Pro Emeritus in 1988 from the Corpus Christi Country Club.
Over the next 3 decades, due to his resilience and uncanny ability to overcome challenging health struggles, Tommy earned the nickname "Lazarus." Throughout these trials, his faith in Christ sustained him. He continued to give golf lessons and taught a non-credit golf class at Del Mar College for several years. By his own reckoning in 1999, he had given 25,000 golf lessons. Tommy was a Life Member of the PGA.
His other passion included serving his Savior through the various ministries of St. Luke's United Methodist Church, where he was a faithful member since his move to Corpus Christi in 1956.
He is preceded in death by Tom and Louise Burke (parents) and Michael Burke (grandson). He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Joyce Burke, Helen Nixon (sister) of Sugar Land, children: Jeffrey Burke (Kirsti Harms) of Austin, Janet Clyne (J. Curt) of Mart, Linda Hill (Bruce), Lane Burke, and Glen Burke of Corpus Christi; grandchildren: J. Colin Clyne (Kelliann) of Walnut Creek, California, Thomas Burke Clyne (Hillary) of Murrieta, California, Claire Clyne of Dallas, John Clyne (Shantell), and Mark Clyne of Mart, Stephen Burke (Asia Keene) of Maple Valley, WA, David Hill and Mark Hill (Marissa) of Corpus; great grandchildren: Zoe Clyne, Georgia Clyne, and Sally Clyne, Linus Michael Burke, and Mackenzie Hill; nephews: Ray Nixon of Dallas, Ron Nixon of Austin, Rick Nixon of Sugar Land, Talmadge Pendarvis of Conroe; and many cousins.
A funeral service and celebration of life was held at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, in Corpus Christi, 13 June 2020, interment followed at Seaside Memorial Park Cemetery.
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