Douglas Melvin Burke, 65, of Amarillo, TX passed away on July 8, 2021.
Memorial services will be at 2:00 P.M., Monday, July 12, 2021, at Trinity Baptist Church with Nate Magloughlin officiating. Arrangements are by Boxwell Brothers Funeral Directors, 2800 Paramount Blvd.
Douglas Melvin Burke was born into the family of a Baptist minister in Des Moines, Iowa in 1956. He was the third child for Thomas and Barbara but not the last, as he was joined a few years later by a baby sister. In Alton, Illinois, the family lived next door to the church where Tom was the minister. Those were wonderful days. The family enjoyed outdoor sport games with Tom serving as the umpire and Barbara cheering from the sidelines. Every Labor Day the family took a trip before the beginning of school and Doug would take turns with his siblings sitting on the homemade ice cream maker as their dad hand cranked. Doug was the self-appointed director of the basketball games at the gym in the church and when games failed to go his way, it miraculously always became time to lock up the gym. At the age of 17, a major victory was won when Doug convinced his conservative father that The Eagles record, he wanted was mostly “instrumental”.
When it came time for college, Doug followed his talented basketball playing sister where she had earned a scholarship. They both ended up in the little town of Plainview, Texas USA. At Wayland Baptist College, he met the love of his life, Terri Turner. He would delightedly brag the rest of his life that the redheaded beauty asked him out first. Doug and Terri were married in 1978 in the bride’s family home in a ceremony officiated by the groom’s father.
Doug, himself became a father in 1982 when he and Terri welcomed their son, Jacob. Two years later they were joined by their daughter Leslie. As a family, some of their most cherished times were yearly summer vacations to Red River, New Mexico where Doug taught his children how to fish for rainbow trout. And although they perhaps did not always appreciate being dragged up and down a mountain to remote lakes with fish in tow, they both now harbor a deep love of the mountains and the outdoors nurtured by their father.
At the age of eight, Doug’s father gave him a gift that he cherished the rest of his life: golf. Everyone who knew Doug knew of his passion and skill on the golf course. He was a star on the Alton High School team all four years. As a golf pro at Spearman and Perryton, Doug honed the grass maintenance skills that later became legendary among his neighbors. In 1999, Doug made the front page of the Amarillo sports section when he won the Tall Tower Open as a “relative unknown”. Some of his fondest memories were the times he spent with friends on the golf course.
For the majority of his working career, Doug was an administrator in education. He was the principal of Perryton High School, Sam Houston Middle School, and retired at Avondale Elementary. His transition to elementary principal was particularly fun and comical for him as he learned very quickly to never wear khaki pants on spaghetti day in the cafeteria. Throughout his career, Doug earned the reputation of being a “teacher’s principal.” His goal was to empower his teachers to do their jobs well so students could receive the education they truly needed. Doug’s hard work, humor, and fairness made him both respected and beloved.
In his retirement, Doug enjoyed “simple pleasures”. Coffee on the porch with Terri. Library books. Watching a storm rolling in. Movies and popcorn. Fires in the chimenea. Weekly poker with his friends. Traveling to see family.
Doug’s beautiful life came to an end on July 8, 2021, after a brief battle with a rare, aggressive cancer. May the memory of his life comfort all those that loved him.
Doug was preceded in death by his father, Thomas.
Survivors include his mother, Barbara of Iowa City, IA; his wife, Terri of Amarillo, Tx; his son, Jacob and wife Elizabeth of Raleigh, NC; his daughter, Leslie and husband Evan of Dripping Springs, TX; his sister, Cathy and husband John of Louisville, KY; his brother, Tom and wife Debbie of Iuka, MS; his sister, Barb of Iowa City, IA; and his grandchildren, Wyatt, Norah, Helen, and Frances.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested memorial donations be made to BSA Hospice of the Southwest. www.hospicesouthwest.com