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John Leslie (Les) Burke

Obituary for John Leslie (Les) Burke

April 19, 2020


John Leslie Burke (Les), age 80, passed on April 19, 2020. Survived by his wife MaryAnn (nee Hanna), their 3 sons Terry (Sarah), Kevin (Lauren) and Brian and their 6 grandchildren; Gavin, Scott, Emma, Dylan, Declan and Darby. Les is proceeded by his sisters Mary, Joan (Hank) and Anne. A first generation American, Les was born and raised in the Olney section of Philadelphia and was a parishioner at St. Helena's. He attended LaSalle College High School, LaSalle University and completed a master's degree at Temple University. He retired from Abington School District after teaching more than 40 years at both Cardinal Dougherty High School and Abington Junior High.

A lifelong athlete and sports fan, Les coached basketball and golf throughout his career. Les started as an assistant basketball coach at Bishop McDevitt, Cardinal Dougherty, and Abington High School. He then became a head coach at Spring Garden College, and finally his alma mater LaSalle College High School. He led Spring Garden College men's team to several conference titles and an appearance at the Division 3 NAIA tournament of champions in 1977. While as head coach of La Salle, his teams brought home two northern division championships and two appearances in the Catholic League Finals. After retiring as head coach, Les transitioned to be an assistant coach for both the basketball and golf teams at LaSalle High School. During that time, the basketball team won the Northern Division regular season three times. In his 18 years of coaching golf, the team won 15 Catholic League Championships, won 70 consecutive matches between 2000-2004, as well as an international match vs. England/Ireland in 2002.

Coach Burke was known for his fierce competitive spirit, player skill development, profound understanding of game day strategy and his ability to motivate his players to compete at their highest level. Les was a devout Catholic who attended mass each day. He was known for his quick wit, strong faith, and immense pride for his family, especially his wife of 51 years. He enjoyed many years of retirement at the New Jersey shore and West Palm Beach, Florida.

A private mass will be held in his honor at Our Lady Help of Christians in Abington, PA. A celebration of Les Burke's life will be scheduled at a later time. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Les Burke's honor to LaSalle College High School 8605 Cheltenham Ave. Wyndmoor, PA 19038.

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Craft-Givnish Funeral Home of Abington, Ltd.

1801 Old York Road
Abington, PA 19001
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