KALISPELL – Paul Burke, 43, passed away Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, in Kalispell. He was born in Missoula on a hot Sept. 8, 1971. He was raised and attended school in Missoula at Prescott Elementary, Rattlesnake Middle School and Hellgate High School.
In grade school he participated in Cub Scouts, Little Guy Wrestling, YMCA soccer and Little Grizzly Football. In high school he participated in basketball and football. He gained “all conference” honors as a junior defensive end and as a senior fullback. Upon graduation from Hellgate High School, he accepted a scholarship offer to play football at Jamestown College in North Dakota. His football dream was cut short by a back injury during his sophomore year.
He then attended North Idaho College, graduating with a degree in criminology. Thus began a 19-year career in law enforcement. First, a short stint with the Coeur d’Alene City Police, followed by several years as a trooper with the Idaho State Police, culminating with the Flathead County Sherriff’s Department as a patrol deputy and deputy coroner. In 2013 Paul decided to embark on a new career path; leaving law enforcement behind, he went back to college. He was pursuing a degree in accounting through Montana State University-Billings. He was continuing this endeavor at the time of his death.
To say that Paul enjoyed hunting as an avocation is an understatement. He lived to hunt. Paul bagged his share of elk, too many deer for anyone to remember, a buffalo, two cougars, three black bears, several prong-horned antelope, and most significantly a magnificent Alaskan caribou.
Leisure pursuits for Paul down through the years included jet skiing, weightlifting, riding his ATV, hiking, fishing and camping. He further enjoyed watching college football, especially the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
His Irish heritage, and all that the culture and the island of Ireland signified, were an inspiration to him.
Paul married the love of his life, Rachel Fagan of Whitefish, on a beautiful June day in 2003. Paul’s true calling was as a father. He enjoyed playing pickup games and the teaching of football, basketball and baseball with his son. The result is a son with exceptional athletic ability, which made Paul very proud. His daughters were the apples of his eye. Another understatement, is that his girls had their daddy wrapped around their collective little fingers. Paul never denied this; in fact, he reveled in it.
Paul was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Don and Laura Teague; paternal grandparents, James and Marie Burke; Aunt LaVerne Strodtbeck; and Uncle Jim Burke.
He is survived by the love of his life, Rachel Burke; son, Trevor; daughters, Lauryn, Hailey and Kendal, ages 10 down through 3, residing at the family home in Kalispell; stepson, Alex Case of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; mother, Christine Teague of Dickinson, North Dakota; father, Michael Burke of Missoula; sister, Erin Krause and her children Connor, Katie and Adrian of Dickinson; and his aunts and uncles, Dennis and Debbie Burke of Mesa, Arizona, Ray and Jean Burke of Spokane, Donna Burke of Spokane, Andy and Kathy Teague of Seeley Lake and Laurie Teague of Missoula. He is also survived by numerous cousins scattered across the West, many of whom he maintained a close relationship with down through the years.
Memorial services are as follows: Memorial Mass, 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 29, St. Francis Xavier Parish, Missoula; rosary service, 7 p.m. Monday, Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home, Kalispell; funeral Mass, 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 30, St. Matthew Parish, Kalispell, followed by inurnment at Glacier Memorial Gardens in Kalispell. A luncheon will follow at St. Matthew’s Parish Center.
Son, brother, husband and father. Paul was the epitome of all four.