Douglas Melvin Burke


Douglas Melvin Burke
Douglas Melvin Burke

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.

18 Replies to “Douglas Melvin Burke”

  1. Doug was my best friend in high school. We are the same age. His dad was the Pastor of our church in Alton, IL. Me, Doug, and some of the other guys back then spent many days in the church gym playing indoor hockey. Doug was very athletic. Extremely GREAT at golf. I always tried to match him when playing together but fell very short. WOW, he was GOOD! Doug and I both went to Cedarville College in Ohio together as roommates. That tested our friendship much to my regret. Doug ended up not returning after that year and his family moved to Texas to Pastor a different church and that was the last time I saw Doug. That was difficult for me at the time. I truly admired Doug and the entire family! Doug was my best friend! I loved that guy! Ill never forget all the sleep overs here and there we had and all the golf tee’s we had and all the fun times with the youth group and just being friends. I remember having bottle rocket fights one 4th of July. Oh geez! His mom and dad were awesome!!! Those were awesome days and I have more than awesome memories. I do miss those says and am VERY SAD to hear of Doug’s early passing. My sympathies go out to his wife and kids and extended family and friends! Ill never forget you Doug and all the great times we had! Thank you!! THANK YOU! REST IN PEACE IN GODS CARE NOW! I WILL SEE YOU IN GLORY ONE BRIGHT DAY MY FRIEND!!!!!!! For now I simply shed a tear at this sad news, which was told to me by John and Cathy (his sister and her husband) who attended his dads ol church in IL here for its 100th year celebration this past weekend, but at the same time am happy that you have heard the voice of GOD say WELCOME HOME MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT. How wonderful is that!

  2. Doug and Terri have been my friend since 2003. I’ve had the pleasure of celebrating many life events with them, especially Wyatt and Norah celebrations! I caught many rides to and from Austin with them. Of course they would never let me pay for any gas. Doug was always eager to pickup breakfast tacos and coffee for everyone while in Austin. Lots of fond memories!

    Doug’s family, please know that you continue to be in my thoughts and prayers continuously, especially on 07/12/21. Love, peace, and comfort to each one of you in the days to come.


  3. I’ll always remember working with Doug at Perryton Municipal Golf Course, sanding greens and even helping him paint the outside of his house one time. Super nice and hard working man. He will be missed by so many people. My prayers go out to Terri, Jacob, and Leslie. May he Rest In Peace.

  4. Mr. Burke knew how to spoil his students and staff. He was the grill master at the back to school tailgate and the end of school picnic for Avondale Elementary. Fridays were a special time in the teacher’s lounge with Donut Stop doughnuts or his famous sausage balls. He made everyone feel valued as a person. I don”t think he ever met a stranger. We all appreciated his enthusiastic support. Mr. Burke was a wonderful, caring, and outstanding man. He was a blessing to everyone who had the privilege to to know him.

  5. We are very sorry to hear of Doug’s death. We were in school with Doug and Terri at Wayland. Prayers for Terri and the family during this time and the days ahead.

  6. I met Doug at Wayland where he and his wife Terri and I became great friends. I had the privilege to be in their wedding. We were great friends during our newly wed years.
    Though time, distance would make staying connected hard I will always be thankful that Doug and Terri were a part of our lives. I consider it a great honor to have called Doug my friend .

  7. Doug will always be in my heart. I am blessed to have been his oldest sister for his brief time on earth. I’ll never forget our phone calls. Even though we lived 1100 miles apart, I could call him anytime and his greeting never no changed: “Hey, Cath, how’s it going?” And then we’d talk about old times and how blessed we were. He was a wonderful brother and I will cherish the memories we shared.

  8. We are so sorry to hear about Doug. The Ellis family extends their prayers and love to the Burke family. One of my favorite ‘cousin’ memories was spending time with Doug and the family when Uncle Tom was Pastor at Brown Street. Doug and I were the same age – and I thought I was a ‘decent’ high school golfer – well Doug was at another level. I always admired his calm demeanor and the importance of family. He will be missed. Cousin Bruce and Kim

  9. Mr. Burk was an amazing guy and my favorite High School principal! My prayers to the family during these difficult days.
    Perryton High School 1995

  10. I am so sorry to hear about cousin Doug. My thoughts and prayers for the family and those close to him.
    God Bless!

  11. One of my favorite teachers. I’m so sorry to hear about his illness and his passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  12. I had the pleasure of being a student of Doug’s in Perryton Tx. He was one of my favorites. After I moved to Amarillo, my sons started school at Avondale Elementary. When I walked in with them to enroll, Doug was there to greet us. I felt so relieved and safe because I knew he would make sure they were ok. I will never forget the kindness he showed us. He truly cared for each and every person there. A great man that will be missed deeply by all.

  13. Doug Burke hired me a week after 9/11/2001.
    It was my first school working for AISD.
    I gave him every reason why I didn’t qualify well for the teacher assistant position I was interviewing for.
    He wouldn’t let that be an excuse !
    I loved Sam Houston for the 4 1/2 years I was there.
    I remember Mr. Burke as the door that got me into the special education system that eventually led me to foster a mentally disabled young person. I have always been grateful fir him!

  14. I am so sorry to hear about Mr. Burke’s passing. He was a wonderful man and a great boss. He truly cared about people. My husband and I got to know him when we would eat lunch with our kids at Avondale Elementary. When he heard I was almost done earning my teaching degree, he immediately hired me as a teacher’s assistant and the following year hired me as a first year teacher. Back then kindergarten was half days, so he allowed my youngest son to come to my classroom when kindergarten let out so I didn’t have to send him to daycare. In the summers if I had my kids at the school with me, he would take them to Braums to get ice cream. They still talk about that to this day…they loved him!!!
    When my mom was sick and dying, Mr. Burke fed my family, he told me to take off all the time I needed, and he came to the funeral when she passed. He always went above and beyond, and not just for my family, but for everyone he knew. We feel blessed that we had the privilege to know him and that I was able to work for him. May God bless the Burke family, and give them peace and comfort.

  15. What’s beautiful tribute for a life cut short, but well lived. My dearest friend was just telling me about spaghetti day! She said he took it in stride. He was dearly loved.

  16. Mr. Burke loved his students and staff equally. He was a constant in the lunchroom visiting with his students and helping them open their lunches daily. He called each child by name. We all knew where to find him during these lunch hours. He knew how much bonding with these kiddos meant to them and him. His students and staff loved and respected him.

    We were sad when he retired for he set the bar high.

  17. We are so very sorry to hear about the loss of Doug! We both remember him fondly, not only from Wayland, Terri, education, and golf! He was a true gentleman! Our prayers for God’s peace and comfort!

  18. We are so very sorry for your loss. Your lovely memories will surely be a strong comfort.

    With love,
    Randy and Carolyn Ferguson

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