Taylor George Burke, age 92, passed away peacefully on August 28, 2015, in his home at Greenfield Senior Living of Oak Ridge.
George was born on December 21, 1922 in Norfolk, Virginia to the late George Sr. and Gladys Burke. He grew up in Chattanooga, where his father worked as an engineer with the TVA. George attended Auburn University for almost a year before enlisting in the Army Air Corps. His father's untimely death in 1942, left George head of the family. Despite this loss, he fulfilled his duty to his country. He became a pilot, flying C-47s as part of the 64th Troop Carrier Group. He flew many missions in Italy, Yugoslavia and southern France, transporting paratroopers and supplies. As an AF Reserve officer, he retired in 1972 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
After the war, with the benefit of the GI Bill, he completed his studies in engineering physics at Auburn.
In the fall of 1948, George moved to Oak Ridge to begin a 37 year career at K-25, working in the gaseous diffusion program, and later, in the centrifuge program.
During his first year at K-25, his colleagues observed that he was making frequent trips to the plant library. The reason became clear: George soon announced his engagement to one of the librarians, Neva Claiborne.
In 1955, with a growing family and while working at K-25, he earned his MS degree in physics at UT Knoxville.
He was a devoted husband to Neva and a supportive father to their three children, particularily to their autistic son, Taylor. He also took great joy in his only grandchild, Amélie.
George was active in civic and charitable organizations, including the Kiwanis Club of Oak Ridge, Boy Scout Troop 129 and volunteering at the Holiday Bureau. He was a member of First United Methodist Church.
He enjoyed spending time with his extended family, traveling and hiking. He was also an avid amateur photographer and loved listening to music.
George was preceded in death by Neva, his beloved wife of over 60 years.
He is survived by his children, Constance and her husband, Gilbert Cremese, of Oak Ridge; Taylor Burke of Oak Ridge; Ginny and her husband, Kevin Kilgore, of Atlanta and their daughter, Amelie. He is also survived by his loving sister, Virginia and her husband, Dr. Hart Long, of Daytona Beach, Florida; and by several cousins, nieces and nephews.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, September 2, from 2 to 3 pm at Martin Oak Ridge Funeral Home. A graveside service will follow at Oak Ridge Memorial Park with Rev. Jenny Caughman officiating.
The family would like to give special thanks to the caring staff of Greenfield Senior Living and to his dedicated caregivers with Professional Care for the Elderly.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the National Parkinson Foundation or the Emory Valley Center Capital Campaign, P.O. Box 5328, Oak Ridge, TN 37831.
2:00 AM - 3:00 AM (ET)
Martin Oak Ridge Funeral Home
Oak Ridge, TN 37830
3:30 AM (ET)
Oak Ridge Memorial Park
Oak Ridge, TN 37830