Obituary: Melville, Burke A.
MELVILLE, Burke A.
Burke was born on October 20, 1965 in Spokane, Washington. With his mother Shirley, father Curtis, and older siblings Jim, Andrea, and Dave, Burke lived in Lamont, Washington while his family was farming. Then the family moved to Pullman; Michigan; Moses Lake; St Louis, Missouri; Tracy, California and then back to Lamont. He and his siblings were a very tight knit group during these moves, and his older siblings often chauffeured Burke around Northern California taking him to tennis tournaments.
Burke studied electrical engineering at Washington State University, where he played on the men’s varsity tennis team and met his wife Elizabeth Heft, who played on the women’s varsity tennis team. After college they moved to the west side where Burke worked for Boeing as an electrical engineer for the next seven years, before he and Liz decided they wanted to move to Lamont so Burke could work on the family farm. He farmed in Lamont for 16 years and really developed the heart and soul of a farmer.
The highlights of his life were his children Kelly, Tracy and Rose. His wife’s memories of him include him swaying Kelly for hours when she had colic as a baby, crying and feeling his dad’s presence when Tracy was born, and his insistence that Rose be named Rose because she was so beautiful when she was born. He also read more books out loud to the girls than we can count including the Harry Potter , Inkheart , and Children of the Lamp series, along with many, many more. His children have warm memories of skating and kayaking on the local ponds, walking the pasture land, fishing, and checking on the cows with their Dad. While he tried to share his love of fishing with his family it never really stuck; however, his love for tennis did, and all of the family still plays. The family also has wonderful memories from trips to California, Florida, Birch Bay, and Hawaii.
Through tennis he had many memorable friends and doubles partners including: his WSU teammates and his doubles partners, and all the guys at North Park and SAC. He also had very treasured memories of traveling to Palm Springs when his 5.0 teammates and he qualified for nationals.
Burke showed some of his finest attributes in his fight against his brain tumor. He was diagnosed in the spring of 2008 with anaplastic astrocytoma and underwent surgery, radiation, and many rounds of chemotherapy and Avastin. Even as he lost his ability to walk and speak, he still fought to live and be present with his family. This ability to persist against all odds showed his immense courage. He will be missed greatly by his family and friends.
A special thank you goes out to the following doctors and care takers: Dr. Wittenkeller and Tina of Rockwood clinic, Dr. Jennifer Clarke from UCSF, and to Karen, Jim, and Kat from Whitman County Home Health Care and Hospice.
Community Cremation Service Spokane Valley
13127 E. Sprague, Spokane Valley, WA 99216 509-926-2020
On-line guestbook: www.CommunityCremationService.com