C. Thomas Burke, dead at 77
Shipping and port executive C. Thomas Burke died May 24 in Tampa Bay.
Burke worked as executive director and chief executive officer of several ports during his career including Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, the Cleveland Port Authority, and the Seaway Port Authority of Duluth.
For a decade he was senior advisor to the president and chief executive officer of “K” Line America Inc. in its Washington D.C. office, and more recently served as president of the first Middle East Chapter of the International Propeller Club in Dubai, U.A.E.
He started his career in the maritime industry as assistant director of Port Commerce for the Port of New York-New Jersey. He also spent 10 years in executive positions with the Delaware and Hudson Railroad, now the Canadian Pacific Railroad.
Burke had a long history in public service as well. He served in the Carter, Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations. Among his appointments were, Special Assistant for International Affairs, Office of the Secretary,U. S. Department of Agriculture; Transportation Management Officer, Agency for International Development (Food for Peace Program); and a Presidential Appointment in the Department of State as Commissioner of the Panama Canal Study Commission.
Burke was a graduate of Christian Brothers Military Academy in Albany, N.Y., and Northeastern University in Boston. He received his law degree from Blackstone School of Law.
He was an inductee of the International Maritime Hall of Fame.
Burke’s first wife, Joanne, the mother of his five children, predeceased him in 1986, of Parkinson’s disease.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Ross; her daughter, Laurel of Tampa, Fla.; and his five children, Thomas Andrew of Cleveland, Ohio, Daniel Joseph of Richmond Va., Rita Marie Morris of Washington, D.C., James Gregory of Shrewsbury, Mass., and Matthew Henry of Cranbury, N.J.; their spouses; and 13 grandchildren.
Services will be held at Saint John’s Catholic Church, Clyde, N.Y., on July 2.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers donations be sent to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, 811 W. Evergreen Ave., Suite 204, Chicago IL 60642-2642.