A very caring, thoughtful and generous person with a bigger-than-life personality

NORTH READING — James M. “Lobster” Burke, 66, of North Reading and formerly of Somerville, died at his home on Sunday, May 22, 2022.

Born in Cambridge on May 17, 1956, he was the son of the late Henry J. and Pearl L. (Cooper) Burke. Jim was a graduate of North Reading High School, Class of 1975. He was a truck driver for the North Reading Public Works Highway Department for many years.

Lobster was a very caring, thoughtful, and generous person to all his family and friends. He was always the life of the party, a bigger than life personality. His nieces and nephews meant the world to him, like they were his own children. He was Santa for many years, he took them to the drive-in and trick or treating in his truck. He had many, many good friends and was well-known in town. He loved stopping in the town trucks and saying “hi” to all the kids.

Lobster was the North Reading High School wrestling champion. He was a member of the Moose Lodge and the Knights of Columbus for most of his adult life. He was a resident of North Reading for the past 53 years.

He loved playing in the town leagues for men’s softball for many years. He loved bowling and golfing and had made a hole-in-one on June 21, 2014 on the 13th hole of Middleton Golf Course.

He loved going to the Patriots games and tailgating with his friends and often took nieces or nephews with him. He did many charitable motorcycle bike runs. He would do the Laconia bike weeks as well on his Harley. He especially loved playing cards with friends.

Family members include his loving brothers, Henry D. Burke and his late wife Gayle, Edward J. Burke and his wife Sandra, and Joseph T. Burke and his wife Sheila; his late sister Nancy A. Burke Abruzzese and her surviving husband David Abruzzese; nieces and nephews, Regan Lamphier, Christina Dunn, Colleen Peabody, Carol Abruzzese, Kelley Wilson, Cathleen Abruzzese-Pavlini, Joseph Burke, Kevin Burke, Robin Evans, David Abruzzese, Justin Burke, Kayla Burke, Scott Burke, Morgan Burke, Timothy Cersale and the late Sean Burke; numerous great-nieces and great-nephews, including the late Ethan Lamphier, and one great-great-nephew.

His funeral was held from the Croswell Funeral Home, 19 Bow Street, North Reading on Tuesday, May 31 at 9:15 a.m., followed by a 10:30 a.m. funeral Mass at St. Theresa’s Church, 63 Winter Street, North Reading. Visitation at the funeral home was held on Monday, May 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. Interment was in Riverside Cemetery in North Reading.

Memorial donations may be made in his memory to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 42040, Oklahoma City, OK 73123-3000 or to the charity of one’s choice. To leave an online message of condolence, please visit: www.croswellfuneralhome.com.