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In memoriam
July 6, 2023

Dr. Brian R. Burke

Burke, Brian R2.jpg

It is with immeasurable sadness that we announce the passing of our dear Brian on July 6, 2023.

Dearly beloved husband, sweetheart, and best pal of Winifred (Murchland), with whom he shared almost 35 years of marriage. Beloved father of their children, who were his greatest pride and joy: Peter, Brigid, Charles, and Joseph.

Born in Windsor on May 22, 1959 to Raymond (1968) and Jeannette (Byerley) Burke. He will be deeply missed by his siblings Michael and Julie; Patti and Brad Martin; Tim and Shelly; and Sean Burke as well as his brothers- and sisters-in-law: Eileen Murchland; Mary and Stephen Balsam; Henry and Jackie Murchland; and Emmett and Carol Murchland and the extended Burke, Byerley, Laforet, Murphy, and Murchland clans. Much loved son-in-law of Richard (2012) and Mary (January, 2023) Murchland. Also mourning his loss are Lisa Barei and family, his broad circle of friends, colleagues, and students, and the legions of local patients and families. It was his privilege to be entrusted with their care.

Brian’s Windsor roots were formative. Growing up on Pierre Avenue and Tourangeau Road, he attended Our Lady of Lourdes and L.A. Desmarais before moving on to Tilbury District High School and then The University of Toronto, graduating from medical school in 1984 and completing his psychiatry residency in 1990, immediately returning to Windsor to begin his service in mental health.

It would be difficult to find an area in which he didn’t impact local health care. Only recently stepping back from his outpatient practice, he has been staff psychiatrist at all local hospitals, currently devoted to Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare. He has been, now or at one time, clinical coordinator and ACT psychiatrist for the Essex ACT Team, director of the Dual Diagnosis Clinic, undergraduate director Psychiatry-SWOMEN, post-grad director-psychiatry Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry-Windsor, chair of the ICRC at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, and program medical director Mental Health and Addictions at HDGH.

Despite his full career, he was an exemplar of work/life balance. Music was a passion throughout his life; he was a performer and a fan. From the rock 'n' roll and ska bands of his youth to the Bebop Jazz of the Brian Burke Quartet, Brian thrived on the communal creativity of making music. He was a voracious reader on a myriad of topics, a chess enthusiast, and completed The New York Times crossword daily before his first coffee. He insisted on walking the course at Pointe West, sought out live theatre and musical performances, enjoyed discovering new restaurants, and found peace on the beaches of Grand Cayman. And he laughed and laughed a lot. He was “sui generis” and we shall never see him like that again. There is a Brian-sized hole in the universe.

Let us continue his legacy of love, compassion, creativity, curiosity, connection and fun. Our eternal gratitude to EMS, and Medical staff at Met ER and Ouellette Campus CCU. As a gesture of sympathy, donations may be made to Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare Foundation, Mental Health Programs. Cremation has taken place. Share memories, photos, or make a donation online at Familes First.