On Friday, December 3, 2021, Dr. Pat Sharkey Burke, age 81, was welcomed by Jesus into his heavenly home.
Visitation will be held at Riverside Baptist Church in Clarksdale, on Thursday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. until service time at 11 a.m. Services will be conducted by Rev. Seth Sandusky and Dr. Tracy Putnam. Graveside services will take place at the Burke family cemetery in Vaiden, at 3 p.m.
Meredith-Nowell Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Pallbearers will be Dr. Burke’s grandsons: Joseph Thomas, Jr., Campbell Putnam, Sharkey Burke III, Timothy Thomas, Stephen Thomas, Josiah Putnam, Samuel Thomas and Thaxton Burke.
Doc, as he was known to many, was the first of three children born to Dennis Rule Burke, Sr. and Louise Dudley Sharkey in Ruleville. He was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Dennis Burke, Jr. and Dudley Burke.
He graduated from Ruleville High School in 1958, and then earned a degree in biology from Southwestern University (now Rhodes College) in 1962. While at Southwestern, he was a dual sport athlete playing both football (cornerback and fullback) and baseball (outfield). His baseball team won the 1962 National Collegiate Baseball Championship.
After Southwestern, Doc enrolled in the University of Mississippi Medical School and in 1966, he married Carmen Melanie (Meg) Wells. He graduated with an MD degree in 1967. He enlisted in the United States Air Force for his internship and residency and worked at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio.
The Burke family, which had grown with the birth of Melanie and Sharkey, relocated back to the Delta in 1973 to begin practicing medicine in Clarksdale as a doctor of internal medicine. The same year, they welcomed their youngest child, Genie. He was a member of the American Medical Association and the Mississippi Medical Association.
Being a “Delta boy” and an Eagle Scout, Doc never outgrew his love of all things outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. He cared deeply about his community and practiced medicine in Clarksdale for over forty years, even after retirement. He faithfully participated in the Rotary Club and helped many people for good and God.
Doc genuinely loved Meg, with whom he had enjoyed 54 years of marriage, and his three children: Melanie and Joey Thomas, and their children Elizabeth, Joseph, Timothy, Stephen and Samuel; Sharkey and Paige Burke, and their children Sharkey III, Lillian, Bradley and Thaxton; Genie and Tracy Putnam, and their children Campbell, Addie Grace, Maegan and Josiah.
But Doc’s great passion went far beyond sports, community and family to what mattered most – Jesus. Pat Burke loved his Lord and Savior. He was a great student of the Bible which overflowed into teaching of the men’s Sunday school class at Riverside Baptist Church, and every Monday night you could find him leading a men’s community Bible study.
He wanted everyone he met to know Jesus and relentlessly shared the gospel of Jesus in word, song and deed. Goodness and mercy followed him all the days of his life and he now dwells in the house of the Lord forever.