Roger Allan Burke was born August 1, 1926, nine miles NW of Mora, Minnesota to Verdy Willie Burke and Geneva Fern Gruver. After graduating from Mora High School he was inducted into the Army on May 8, 1945. He was honorably discharged on December 9, 1946. Upon discharged he worked in carpentry and auto body repair while attending Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota. On July 30, 1949 he was married to Wilma Ruby Trupe at Hillman Church north of Mora, Minnesota.
After marriage the young couple moved to Owattana where their first child Marjorie Ellen was born. In 1951 the small family moved to St Paul, MN so that Roger could continue his studies at Bethel. While in St Paul, Doris Kay and Timothy Mark were added to the tribe.
In 1954 the family pulled up stakes and moved to Two Harbors, Minnesota so that Roger could help his father build houses. While there the youngest two children were added to the family, Roxane Joy and Philip Lee.
Roger completed his studies at Bethel in 1964 and in July of that same year the family loaded into the 1956 Pontiac, along with two dogs and a cat, and moved to Cambridge, NE where Roger served the Calvary Baptist Church and the Holbrook Baptist Church.
After 8 ½ years of ministry in Cambridge, Roger, Wilma, Roxane and Phil once again pulled up stakes, leaving Tim and Marge behind while Doris served in the Evangelism Core. Roger began his ministry in the Stromsburg Baptist Church in November 1972.
Then in February of 1983, Roger and Wilma moved to Clearbrook, MN to serve the First Baptist Church for five years. Roger then thought it was time to retire and in 1988 returned to Stromsburg to build a house and enjoy some time off. After only a few months he was asked to serve the Polk First Baptist Church as an interim pastor. After a couple of years Roger was asked to make the interim more permanent and served the church for twenty-one years.
Since his retirement from full time ministry Roger has authored four books leaving an eternal legacy to his family, friends and many others.
Roger has lived through the great depression, World War II and numerous other catastrophes, yet his faith seldom waivered and has been an inspiration to many people who have crossed his path. His ministry has allowed him to be involved in many lives through 100 marriages, 251 funerals, 211 baptisms, and many, many changed lives.
Roger passed from this life at Saint Elizabeth’s hospital in the presence of his wife of 70 years on April 7, 2020 at the age of 93.
Roger was preceded in death by his parents, one brother, two brothers-in-law, one sister-in-law, one grandson and one son-in-law.
Survivors include his wife Wilma, children Marjory Paisley of Cambridge NE, Doris and husband Fred Heidtbrink of Gresham NE, Timothy and wife Deb Burke of Cambridge NE, Roxanne and husband Bruce Sander of Arapahoe NE, and Phil and wife Lois Burke of Stromsburg NE as well as 24 grandchildren, 61 great grandchildren, and four great great grandchildren.
What can be said about Roger can’t be fit on a headstone or in a program. His greatest and most lasting memorial is written on the hearts of those he loved most and on the souls he preached Christ into. His memory will live on in the souls that will one day be with him in glory.
Visitation will be held Friday, April 10, 2020 from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at the Stromsburg Baptist Church followed by 2:00 p.m. graveside service at the Stromsburg Cemetery with Rev. Pastor Tim Burke officiating. Military Rites by Stromsburg Legion Post #132. Due to COVID-19 restrictions of 10 people or less gathering, the service will be broadcast to people remaining in their vehicles at the cemetery, on 92.5 FM radio
Dubas Funeral Home of Osceola and Stromsburg is in charge of arrangements.
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