Thomas Peter Burke, age 35, formerly of Oxford, Mich., died suddenly on November 12, 2017 in Leesburg, Va. He was born to Thomas and Lucinda Burke on the first day of 1982.
Thomas brought diligence and delight to all his work. Homeschooled by his mother, he was a joy to teach and exhibited an eagerness to learn rivaled only by a passion for soccer that remained all his life. Thomas’s childhood dream of playing professionally ended with his last growth spurt, so he channeled his love for the game into others. While studying and playing soccer at Hillsdale College, Thomas volunteered as a coach at the local high school. He also volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters and mentored those suffering from disabilities. Thomas earned the respect and friendship of his fellow students, who made him president of their senior class. He graduated magna cum laude in 2004.
Thomas was a sophomore when Al Qaeda attacked New York City and Washington, D.C. After graduation, he devoted himself to serving the nation. Following a short stint at the Department of Homeland Security, Thomas entered the Central Intelligence Agency as an operations officer. He spent too much of his brief life deploying across the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe, usually in combat zones. A true patriot, Thomas dedicated himself to collecting, reporting, and securing the nation’s classified information. He put his country and colleagues ahead of his own life and received numerous awards for superior and meritorious service over his ten-year career.
Thomas spent himself for the sake of our national interest. “I wanted to help create an environment where Americans could be safe to live their lives [and] not have to worry about their security in the process,” he once explained. He left the C.I.A. as one of its most experienced and accomplished young officers. We could never thank him properly.
After leaving the service, Thomas intended to work for a private intelligence company in the United Kingdom; to explore the world with his other half, Sarah; and to live once again as a loyal friend, son, and brother. The opportunity was fleeting — a loss to all who loved and were loved by him.
Thomas was laid to rest in Washington D.C.’s Congressional Cemetery, this country’s first national burial ground, alongside some of the earliest servants of our nation.
Though his body has been destroyed, yet in his flesh, Thomas will see God.
Thomas Burke is survived by his proud father, Thomas; his loving mother, Cindy; his dear sister, Amanda; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins. A celebration of Thomas’s life will be held on December 8th, at Christ the King Church of Oxford, at 11 in the morning. His family will greet relatives and friends during the hour prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, or to Hillsdale College for the Thomas Peter Burke Endowed Memorial Scholarship.