Gary L. Burke

Gary L. Burke, passed away on Sunday, December 13, 2020 at the age of 80, after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Gary was born in FortWorth Texas, March 11, 1940 to father Wendell Burke and mother Mildred (Wade) Burke. He was the second of four siblings and spent his childhood years growing up in Southern California.

Gary was voted Class President of the first graduating class at West Covina High School in 1958, then married his high school sweetheart Karen Almlie.They remained married for 33 years and together raised their three children Bret, Brian and Coleen.

Always working hard to support his family, Gary began his business career employed by Shopping Bag, and in 1964 became a Store Manager at the young age of 24.

The Family relocated to Ridgecrest in 1971 where he was the Store Manager at the Shopping Bag on the Naval Ordinance Test Station, China Lake. After his many years with Shopping Bag, Gary then owned and operated Victory Market, College Acres and Buttermilk Acres convenience stores. Leaving the Grocery business in the mid eighties, he spent the remainder of his career as a Salesperson for Desert Motors and Bud Eyre Chevrolet Car Dealerships until his retirement in 2009.

Always donating countless hours to community organizations, Gary was charter member and past President of the Exchange Club, past Vice President of the Century Football Association, former Board of Directors member of the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Elks Lodge. With a generous spirit, he personally provided Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to help the local community for many years. He received the Exchange Club’s highest honor “The Book of Golden Deeds” on “Gary Burke Day” September 13, 1980.

An active sports enthusiast and outdoorsman, Gary enjoyed fishing, camping, hunting, boating, and waterskiing with his family. Favorite vacations were summers at Lake Mojave and Houseboat trips to Lake Shasta and Lake Powell. In his later years he especially loved fishing opening weekend at Lake Crowley with his adult sons and extended family. He was a huge sports fan and an avid Golfer his entire life.

Gary was preceded in death by his parents Wendell and Mildred, and sister Linda Burke. He is survived by his children; Bret (Laurie) Burke, Brian Burke, and Coleen (Ed) Salinas; grandchildren Justin Salinas, Kelsea (Don Black) Burke, Megan Salinas, Chase (Jessica) Burke, Sean (Lauren) Burke, and Alexander Salinas; greatgrandchildren Isla and Owen Burke; Brothers Ed (Loretta) Burke, Bru Burke, and Dennis Burke; numerous nieces and nephews, and countless friends.

The Family wishes to thank Joyce Dechimo and Chris Reulbach of Joy of Living assisted living home and Alan Rascone, hospice RN for their dedicated and loving care of Gary. Viewing was private and a memorial service for Gary will be held at a later date.

Submitted by the family.

Story First Published: 2021-02-12