James Robert Burke
d. April 20, 2017
James Burke, Montrose, passed away Thursday, April 20, at Hope West Hospice in Grand Junction. He is survived by his wife, Kathryn, her daughter, Gia (Jim) Porter, all of Montrose her son, Jason Russell, Malibu,California; his sisters Kay Christensen of Grand Junction and Lois French of Eurkea, Kansas; nephews Larry and Dan French, also of Eureka, Douglas Curnutt of Ellsworth Kansas; and niece Joan Boyer of Heston, Kansas.
James Burke loved trains, especially steam trains. He is the author of The Iron Horse & I, Volumes I and II, and the The Spirit of Fire and Water, which will be published posthumously. Both are by San Juan Publishing, where he worked with his wife, Kathryn, after retirement from the power industry. Burke was a contributor to publications for the Durango & Silverton Railroad, Royal Gorge Route, Georgetown Loop, Grand Canyon Railway Verde Canyon Railway, and Trains Magazine. He was also a contributor to the San Juan Silver Stage, which he helped found, and the Ouray, Silverton, Durango, Four Corners, and Verde Valley magazines.
Burke was born in Eureka, Kansas, and lived in Kansas, California, and Colorado although he traveled extensively for his work. He worked for the Santa Fe Railroad before and after serving in the Army as a helicopter crew chief during the Korean conflict. He graduated from Kansas State University with an engineering degree and was associated with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Bechtel (out of San Francisco), Alstrom Pyropower (San Diego), and Tri State Generation, Nucla Station. Burke was involved in the design of power generation facilities across the U.S. and Canada. He held several patents for his contributions in the power industry.
James Burke was the embodiment of the Spirit of Fire and Water - an amazing man who leaves an amazing legacy in both the power industry and of railroad history
James Burke was 84. Arrangements are being handled by Sunset Mesa Funeral Home, Montrose. The family asks that those who would like to do so, please donate to Hope West Hospice in the name of James Burke.
Help us Celebrate Jim Burke’s Life!
James Burke was the embodiment of the Spirit of Fire and Water. Help us celebrate his love of Silverton and the Durango & Silverton train, Saturday, May 6, with the First Train to Silverton. After the train comes in, we will head over to Handlebars for lunch (maybe have a cheeseburger and MGD, his favorites). Handlebars will reserve tables for us. (It’s a BYOLB-buy your own lunch-and-booze event.) Please RSVP to Kathryn, 970-729-1188, so we can save table space for you.