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Michael John Burke Obituary


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Michael John Burke, 71, died Wednesday, January 27, 2021 in Hospice of the Valley – Dobson House – from complications related to esophageal cancer. Michael or “Mike” as he always termed himself, fought a mighty battle against his cancer in the months prior to his death. He died peacefully in his sleep with his wife Carol and daughter Melinda by his side.

Michael leaves behind his wife of 39 years, Carol Burke; his daughters, Melinda Burke-Harrigan and Danielle Kissick-Smith (Todd Smith); and his grandchildren, Alexandra Harrigan and Storm Zacchi.

Michael was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 11, 1949 and lived a full and interesting life. He began his career in law enforcement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and then went on to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). His professional experience then led him to Atlantic City, New Jersey where he worked for Resorts International Hotel and Casino during its infancy in the New Jersey gaming industry. He worked his way from a compliance officer to training security officers. When Donald Trump came to New Jersey, Michael was his Director of Security at his first property, Trump’s Castle. Michael also was asked by Donald Trump to run his helicopter fleet – Trump Air. When Trump began construction on his new property, Trump Taj Mahal, Michael was hired to create, hire and train a security team from the ground up for the new property.

Later in life, Michael continued his education and completed two master’s degrees from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) – a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in crisis and emergency management.

Michael continued his carrier as a casino security executive throughout the country. In Las Vegas, he was Director of Security for the newly built Boomtown Casino. He was also Corporate Director of Security for three properties owned by MGM – Primm Valley, Whiskey Pete’s, and Buffalo Bills. He went on to be the Vice President of Security at the newly constructed Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California, and at Greektown Casino in Detroit, Michigan.

Michael was also very active in politics. For the last four years, he was twice elected and served as the Chairman for the Pinal County Republican Party in Arizona. In the weeks prior to his death, he had just been elected to an unprecedented third term.

Michael was known for telling his incredible stories from a life full of interesting people and places. When diagnosed with cancer, Michael stated he had no regrets and he “had a great life.” That life included his love and pride for his family and the friendship and respect of his professional collogues.

Michael will be returned home to the east coast where a memorial service will be held at a later date. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made directly to Hospice of the Valley – Dobson House, 1188 N. Dobson Road, Chandler, AZ 85224. During the last days of his life, Dobson House opened their home to him and his family and provided dignity, care and comfort. Donations would be appreciated so they can continue to care for patients and families with their amazing brand of compassionate care.

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4 responses to “Michael John Burke Obituary”

  1. Pamela Christopher Wirstad says:

    Carol, I have no words, only prayers for you and your family. Mike sounds like a wonderful man. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  2. Ed DeMarco says:

    Carol, Please except Our heart felt condolences and prayers. I will always remember Mike fondly .

  3. Richard Morris says:

    I just learned of Mike’s passing. Mike and I were roommates in the early 1970’s when we both worked as support employees for the FBI in Washington, DC, during the day and we attended night classes at the same college, Southeastern University, to get our degrees. We were pretty poor back then, not being paid much as support staff, and with the costs of our schooling/apartment, and I remember Mike frying spaghetti in a pan with butter (I had never seen that before nor after we parted as roommates) as his meal for the evenings because spaghetti was cheap. He drove what now would be considered a classic, a mid-60’s mustang and when it would occasionally have mechanically issues, Mike would say just wait and it would fix itself which it miraculously did on occasions. Upon graduation, we went our separate ways and as happens far too often in life, I lost touch with him. I was searching for him on the internet to see if we could reconnect when I found his obituary. Even though I had not spoken to Mike in 50 years, I thought of him often and of those days that we didn’t have two nickels to rub together. He was one of the kindest, nicest guys that I have ever known and I will miss just knowing that he is out there . My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

  4. Paul Peck says:

    I am so saddened to learn of Mike’s passing. I just learned of his passing today (8/15/2021). He was a great person, who I was privileged to have as my boss. I am sure that lots of Mike’s stories were about so many of our investigations and interviews we conducted at Primm. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burke Family. Rest in Peace Mike, and thanks for the memories and laughs that made sometimes made me cry over the years. God bless him and the Burke Family.

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Michael John Burke Obituary


Share Obituary:

Send Flowers Print Obituary

Michael John Burke, 71, died Wednesday, January 27, 2021 in Hospice of the Valley – Dobson House – from complications related to esophageal cancer. Michael or “Mike” as he always termed himself, fought a mighty battle against his cancer in the months prior to his death. He died peacefully in his sleep with his wife Carol and daughter Melinda by his side.

Michael leaves behind his wife of 39 years, Carol Burke; his daughters, Melinda Burke-Harrigan and Danielle Kissick-Smith (Todd Smith); and his grandchildren, Alexandra Harrigan and Storm Zacchi.

Michael was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 11, 1949 and lived a full and interesting life. He began his career in law enforcement with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and then went on to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). His professional experience then led him to Atlantic City, New Jersey where he worked for Resorts International Hotel and Casino during its infancy in the New Jersey gaming industry. He worked his way from a compliance officer to training security officers. When Donald Trump came to New Jersey, Michael was his Director of Security at his first property, Trump’s Castle. Michael also was asked by Donald Trump to run his helicopter fleet – Trump Air. When Trump began construction on his new property, Trump Taj Mahal, Michael was hired to create, hire and train a security team from the ground up for the new property.

Later in life, Michael continued his education and completed two master’s degrees from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) – a master’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in crisis and emergency management.

Michael continued his carrier as a casino security executive throughout the country. In Las Vegas, he was Director of Security for the newly built Boomtown Casino. He was also Corporate Director of Security for three properties owned by MGM – Primm Valley, Whiskey Pete’s, and Buffalo Bills. He went on to be the Vice President of Security at the newly constructed Sands Casino in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, California, and at Greektown Casino in Detroit, Michigan.

Michael was also very active in politics. For the last four years, he was twice elected and served as the Chairman for the Pinal County Republican Party in Arizona. In the weeks prior to his death, he had just been elected to an unprecedented third term.

Michael was known for telling his incredible stories from a life full of interesting people and places. When diagnosed with cancer, Michael stated he had no regrets and he “had a great life.” That life included his love and pride for his family and the friendship and respect of his professional collogues.

Michael will be returned home to the east coast where a memorial service will be held at a later date. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made directly to Hospice of the Valley – Dobson House, 1188 N. Dobson Road, Chandler, AZ 85224. During the last days of his life, Dobson House opened their home to him and his family and provided dignity, care and comfort. Donations would be appreciated so they can continue to care for patients and families with their amazing brand of compassionate care.

Share Obituary:

Send Flowers Print Obituary

4 responses to “Michael John Burke Obituary”

  1. Pamela Christopher Wirstad says:

    Carol, I have no words, only prayers for you and your family. Mike sounds like a wonderful man. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  2. Ed DeMarco says:

    Carol, Please except Our heart felt condolences and prayers. I will always remember Mike fondly .

  3. Richard Morris says:

    I just learned of Mike’s passing. Mike and I were roommates in the early 1970’s when we both worked as support employees for the FBI in Washington, DC, during the day and we attended night classes at the same college, Southeastern University, to get our degrees. We were pretty poor back then, not being paid much as support staff, and with the costs of our schooling/apartment, and I remember Mike frying spaghetti in a pan with butter (I had never seen that before nor after we parted as roommates) as his meal for the evenings because spaghetti was cheap. He drove what now would be considered a classic, a mid-60’s mustang and when it would occasionally have mechanically issues, Mike would say just wait and it would fix itself which it miraculously did on occasions. Upon graduation, we went our separate ways and as happens far too often in life, I lost touch with him. I was searching for him on the internet to see if we could reconnect when I found his obituary. Even though I had not spoken to Mike in 50 years, I thought of him often and of those days that we didn’t have two nickels to rub together. He was one of the kindest, nicest guys that I have ever known and I will miss just knowing that he is out there . My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

  4. Paul Peck says:

    I am so saddened to learn of Mike’s passing. I just learned of his passing today (8/15/2021). He was a great person, who I was privileged to have as my boss. I am sure that lots of Mike’s stories were about so many of our investigations and interviews we conducted at Primm. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Burke Family. Rest in Peace Mike, and thanks for the memories and laughs that made sometimes made me cry over the years. God bless him and the Burke Family.

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Your email address will not be published.