William J. Burke, 74, passed away peacefully on September 18, 2023, at his home in the mountains of Sylva, North Carolina after a brief battle with cancer. Bill was born December 1, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois, to John and Cecelia (Hoban) Burke. He was pre-deceased by his parents, brother John, sister Brigid, and brother Edmund.
Bill is survived by his wife, Cynthia (Guffey) Burke, his two sons, William Jr. (Amanda) and Luke (Megan), and his three grandchildren, William III (Joey), John (Jack), and Dublin. Bill is also survived by his siblings, Mary (Jay) Tonne, Elizabeth Ray, Cecelia Burke, sisters-in-law Diane Burke and Karen Beard, and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends whom he loved.
Bill enjoyed summer days on the Lake Michigan beach and traveling with his wife. He coached his sons’ baseball teams throughout their youth and was an avid player of table top games. He was also a dedicated fan of the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Bears, and Notre Dame football. One of his great memories was attending a World Series game with his brothers in 2005, when their White Sox finally won a championship.
Bill worked as a paint contractor and home builder in the Chicago suburbs. In 2005, Bill and Cindy moved to Sylva to enjoy the mountains. After relocating, Bill worked for Harrahs Cherokee Casino, United Country Real Estate, and as a mobile notary public. Later, Bill and Cindy were inspired by national events to join the Jackson County Democratic Party, where Bill acted as treasurer and worked tirelessly to promote community participation and understanding. In 2020, he received the Order of the Mountain Laurel in recognition of his great commitment and work for the people of Jackson County.
Bill will be cremated in a private family ceremony and a memorial service will be held at a later date.