Devoted teacher, coach and mentor

DORCHESTER — Burke, Daniel Richard “Dan” of Dorchester, passed away on April 5.

Dan was born in Boston on January 27, 1942, the proud son of the late Laurence G. and Mary F. (Murray) Burke. Dear brother of Thomas J. Burke Sr. and his wife Mary. Loving partner of many years to Catherine Memory, who he fondly referred to as “Lady Catherine”. Dan was pre-deceased by his brother Laurence G. Burke Jr. and his wife Connie and his sister-in-law Judy Burke.

Supportive and caring uncle to Laurence G. Burke III and his wife Marie; Catherine Lemansky; Kevin

Burke and his wife Cheryl; goddaughter Mary Beth Neville and her husband Shaun; Thomas J. Burke Jr.; and the late Theresa Burke. Also survived by many grand and great nieces and nephews, godchildren, extended family and friends.

Dan was raised in Dorchester where he was a fixture in the community from a very early age, as

President and coach of Dorchester Pop Warner football, baseball coach, YMCA Board Member, Member of the Neponset Civic Association and Pope’s Hill Neighborhood Association and many other local community organizations. Throughout his life he was a devout Catholic, primarily attending St. Ann’s Parish, Dorchester.

His desire to make Dorchester and Boston a better community for all led him to be active in local

politics, including the Ward 16 Democratic Committee and Democratic City Committee. He served as an elected member of the Boston School Committee for many years, including as President. Dan received his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Boston State College (now University of

Massachusetts, Boston) in 1966. He then started his teaching career at Christopher Columbus High

School, as a math teacher and department chair, Director of Admissions, Director of Athletics, football

coach and baseball coach.

In 1972, he moved to Catholic Memorial High School, where for over twenty years he served as math

teacher, guidance counselor, Director of Development, football coach and advisor to many student

organizations. While at Catholic Memorial, he continued his advanced studies, receiving his Master of

Education in Counselor Education from Suffolk University in 1975 and his Doctorate in Education from Boston College in 1992.

He then began the next phase of his career, first as Principal at Wareham High School in 1992 and then Scituate High School in 1997. During his tenure he engaged with students, faculty, staff and parents using his energy to implement high expectations. He embraced the school community in each town, staying late for meetings, student clubs, sporting events and performances, often not returning to

Dorchester until 10 p.m. or later.

He was selected as Principal for Melrose High School in 1999, where he served for almost 8 years. He

became active in the school and local community, including as a member of the Melrose Rotary Club,

where he served as President in 2015-2016. Not one to remain still for long, after retiring as a high school principal, he continued to make a difference in the lives of students and their families, teaching at-risk students at the Chelsea Alternative High School, as well as many first-generation college students and new US citizens at Cambridge College and Bunker Hill Community College.

Across all these roles, his life was marked by the many students he helped, as a teacher, coach and

mentor, which he did with a mix of tough love, tremendous compassion, a listening ear and a strong

belief in their ability to achieve beyond their dreams.

Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend visiting hours at the John J. O’Connor & Son Funeral

Home, 740 Adams St. (near Gallivan Blvd.), Dorchester on Friday, April 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Ann’s Church, Neponset on Saturday, April 13 at 9:30 a.m. Interment St. Joseph Cemetery, West Roxbury. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Dan’s memory to Rogerson House at Dan’s family is grateful to the Rogerson House staff who so lovingly cared for Dan in his final years.