Beloved husband of 60 years, incredible father, grandfather, mentor, and friend to all who spoke his name, passed away peacefully-surrounded by his loving wife Beverly and their children and grandchildren on April 26th at 11:30 am after a heroic battle with cancer. His devoted brother Richard Burke and his wife Barbara were also by his side the week before he passed, which brought him great comfort. \r\r\n\r\r\n Born in Janesville, Wisconsin on November 10th, 1931 to Alvin and Bernice Burke, Paul was the second youngest of six children. As a young man he worked at GM alongside his father and sister Arlene before making a move to Rockford, Illinois-where at the tender age of seventeen, he met the love of his life. \r\r\n\r\r\n Paul Michael Burke married Beverly Ann Thomas on July 1st, 1950. Together, they raised seven children: Michael Burke, Gary Burke (Janta), Paul Burke (Lori), John Burke (Dawn), Valerie James (Jeff), Kathleen Ripp, and Mary Gerard (Dan). \r\r\n\r\r\n He also helped raise eighteen grandchildren who were his pride and joy: In order of age-Adam Burke, Patrick Burke, Aaron Burke, Meghan Burke, Daniel Burke, Brenna Black, Shannon Kazmerowski, Rachel Gilbert, Ryan Burke, Jeffrey James, Krystle James, Kaitlin Gerard, Keegan Ripp, Kelsey Gerard, Keely Ripp, Leah Tillery, Hunter Tillery, and Cloe Tillery. Paul was fortunate to have four great grandchildren as well. \r\r\n\r\r\n After a long tenure in the machining industry, Paul and Beverly decided it was time to make a go of it on their own. On November 1st, 1972 Makerite Manufacturing was born in Roscoe, Illinois. Much like his children and grandchildren, Makerite Mfg. was Paul’s pride and joy as well. The people that worked alongside him were an extended family, most of whom are still there today-thirty eight years later. Together, he and Beverly built an incredible example of what local business should represent. His generous leadership will be felt for years and years to come. \r\r\n\r\r\n In 1990, Paul and Bev officially became snowbirds when they purchased their first home in Lake Placid, Florida. Once Paul got the Florida sunshine in his veins, there was no turning back. They have shared twenty glorious years bouncing back and forth between Florida and Illinois spending six months a year in each state. Paul cherished the friendships they formed as a result of becoming Florida residents. \r\r\n\r\r\n The next time you pass by a lake, hear an Irish song, run out for some custard, or watch a good old-fashioned Western on television, the likelihood is that Paul may join you in spirit. He cherished the small things in life and set a great example of how to be happy with what you have. \r\r\n\r\r\n He would be proud to have you make a donation to the American Cancer Society or your local animal shelter or food pantry in lieu of flowers. \r\r\n\r\r\n Funeral Mass of the Christian Burial will be 11:00 a.m., Monday, May 3, 2010 in St. Peter’s Church, South Beloit, IL with Father Jerome Koutnik officiating. Burial will be in Roscoe Township Cemetery. A visitation will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Sunday, May 2, 2010 in McCorkle Funeral Home, 767 N. Blackhawk Blvd, Rockton, Illinois with the rosary being recited at 4:45 p.m.