Robert H. Burke
Robert H. Burke, a school board member in the Huntington Beach
City School District from 1964 to 1976, died Sept. 26 at the age of
81 in Wailuku, Hawaii.
Born in Iowa, Mr. Burke served in World War II as a pilot in the
U.S. Army Air Force, earned an engineering degree from UC Berkeley
and moved to Huntington Beach in 1963 to work for Signal Oil and Gas
He was elected to the California Assembly in 1966 to fight against
the inclusion of the Seal Beach and Ocean View school districts into
the Huntington Beach City School District, said Tony Tovatt, a
longtime friend whom Mr. Burke replaced on the school board.
“Bob was just a fine, upstanding man in the community who did so
much with his life,” Tovatt said. “He’ll be sorely missed.”
During a stint in Sacramento as a political lobbyist, Mr. Burke
had a school named after him, the Robert H. Burke School, which was
originally part of the Huntington Beach City School District but
became a Christian school when attendance dwindled, Tovatt said.
“He’s a gung-ho Christian, so it’s great that his name will live
on at a Christian school,” Tovatt said.
Mr. Burke retired to the Hawaiian island of Maui in 1987 and was
an active member of Hope Chapel in Kihei, serving on the building
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Claire, and three
children: Bradley Burke of Poway, Spencer Burke of Newport Beach and
Carrie Nichols of Wailuku. He also had a sister, Miriam Knop of
Oregon, and eight grandchildren: Naphtali, Asher, Jarab, Jeriel,
Carlee, Manasseh, Alden and Grace.