Obituary for Clifford Burke Sr.
Clifford E. Burke, Sr. passed away on Thursday, August 17, 2017 at his home in Ronan. He was born on January 22, 1949 to Clifford Dennis Burke and Louise Caye in Nespelem, WA. January 22 was his paternal grandmother’s birthday and he and Lena Burke had a very strong and loving relationship.
He was the oldest of 13 children and so he had to assume a lot of responsibilities at a young age. As a child, he lived in the Nespelem and Omak areas of Washington as well as his beloved Elmo, Montana. He had a large Colville family as well as a large Kootenai family that was so very proud of.
Clifford loved to travel and attend powwows from Fort Hall to Nespelem to White Swan.
He was an athlete excelling in track and football at Flandreau High School and also played basketball at many tribal tourneys in the Northwest.
Clifford loved and idolized his Uncle Louis Caye and spent many times with the Caye family picking berries in Buckhorn, hunting in the Yaak, playing softball, and partying with the boys.
As a young adult, he joined the up and coming Chief Cliff Drum Group, a time in his life that forever was cherished by him. With the Chief Cliff Drummers he traveled near and as far away as Norway where they performed at several venues while they were there. Chief Cliff also performed with Don Pullen, a well-known jazz musician, and the Garth Fagan African and Brazilian dance troupe. They performed in Polson with this group and then on the New York City where Don Pullen and his band treated them to fine dining and tours of NYC before they performed to a packed house.
In 1980 he married Shannon Matt at the St. Ignatius Catholic Church. He had seven children but had a part in raising so many others including nieces, nephews and extended family members.
He is survived by his wife , Shannon; sons, Miah, Michel, Sonny (Alisha), Leonard (Molly), and Matthew; daughters, Stephanie, Lacey, and Vanessa (Randy); his brothers, Franny (Bonnie), Marlin (Tracy), Mike (Beans), Tyrone, Reuben, and Leonard “Whiskey Joe”; his sisters, Clarissa and Marcella; an aunt, Carol Edwards, and an uncle, Butch Burke; special nieces and nephews, Myra, Ceta, Francis, and Taz; grandchildren, Jordan, Kianna, Randy Jr., Angie, Kesean, Taysean, Jayvian, Jesse, Charlie, Tre, Leonard Jr., Areanna, Lolly, and Bunny.
He was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, his baby brother Willie, and sisters, Glenda, Wilma and Clarinda.
The family wishes to extend a special thanks to Dr. Adam Smith and his team and Cory Taylor, his special nurse at dialysis.
Wake services will begin on Thursday, August 17, 5:00 PM at the Elmo Community Hall where the Rosary will be recited on Friday, August 18, 2017, at 8:00 PM. Funeral services will be held in Elmo on Saturday, August 19, 2017, 10:00 AM with burial to follow at the Dayton Cemetery.