A man who worked hard and played twice as hard- George L. Burke, 78, of London, died on Nov. 16, 2019 surrounded by his loving family.
George was born on March 13, 1941 in Washington Court House, Ohio, the son of Helen (Lester) Nixon and George Jr. (Connie) Burke.
He was a 1959 graduate of London High School, and in 1963 married his high school sweetheart Mary Burke – who he endearingly called “M.B.” George was a classic car enthusiast, and as a high-schooler was known as “Coach Cochran’s Hot Rod.” He loved cruising London with M.B., especially in their burgundy red 1962 Chevy Impala.
Despite the love of many hobbies, his biggest love was his family. He and Mary raised their daughter, Lynette and their son, Clayton, in a home where everyone gathered for food and fun. His perfect day was a day spent with his family (and anyone else who wanted to join) in the backyard oasis he coined “The Outback,” listening to Jimmy Buffett songs- which he sang out of tune.
Most locals knew George as a business owner. In 1969, George and his brother, Jim Nixon founded Ronettis Pizza. The restaurant served pizza, sub sandwiches and his “award-winning chili” — although none of his family can remember him actually winning an award for it.
In addition to operating the restaurant, George worked at Navistar and retired from the company after 30 dedicated years of service. He was also a long-time member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in London.
Additionally, George was a talented league bowler who bowled multiple 299 and 300 games at Madison Lanes. On most afternoons in his later years he could be found playing the 2:30 p.m. pot game (which he helped found) at Hickory Grove Golf Course, with a putter in one hand and a salted Budweiser in the other.
He was a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Dallas Cowboys, and also served as a coach for his son’s Little League Baseball team.
He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Mary; his children, Lynette (Rob) Coe, and Clayton (Amy) Burke; his grandchildren, Brynne (Nick) Adkins, Hannah Coe, Burke (Molly) Mayne, Bailee Mayne, Bryce Mayne, Isaiah Coe, and Savanna, Sabrina and Sara Burke; his great-grandson, Remington; many nieces and nephews; his brother, Jim (Sandee) Nixon and two step-sisters. He was preceded in death by his parents.
In accordance with his wishes, there will be no visitation or funeral services — “nothing sad,” he said. A “George Burke style” celebration of life will be held at The Lodge at Lake Choctaw on Friday, November 29 from 2-10pm. All are welcome.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at alz.org or 225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, Chicago, IL, 60601.
The family finds joy knowing George is whole again in Heaven, where they know someone will “give him oysters and beer for dinner every day of the year”… and he’s feelin’ fine.
The family is being served by THE EBERLE-FISHER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATORY, London, Ohio, where online condolences for the family may be sent to www.eberlefisherfuneralhome.com
To send flowers to George's family, please visit our floral section.
The Alzheimer's Association
225 N. Michigan Ave., Fl. 17, AL