Charles O. Bourke, Jr.
Charles “Bucky” Bourke, 83, of Honesdale passed away on August 30 at Wayne Woodlands Manor in Waymart after a lengthy battle with bone cancer.
Bucky was born on May 27, 1939, to the late Charles and Mary Fives Bourke.
He attended the Beere Schoolhouse from first grade through the eighth grade. He loved his years at the Beere School and had many fond memories of his teacher, Thelma Beers. Since he could ride to school in Pleasant Mount with his father, he started ninth grade at the Pleasant Mount School. While there, he was a member of the varsity basketball and baseball teams. He also decided to learn how to play the trumpet, much to his family’s chagrin. A family member told him that the acoustics were much better outside. At that point, his father suggested that he might like to take fiddle lessons from Francis Beers, which he did. Bucky graduated from the Pleasant Mount School in 1957.
On December 11, 1958, Bucky enlisted in the US Navy and received his basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Base where he studied Aviation Electronics. In October of 1962, he was thrilled to be on the USS Kearsarge when the ship retrieved Commander Walter Schirra and his capsule from the Pacific Ocean after the Commander’s Mercury Space Flight was completed. After four years of service, he was honorably discharged as an Aviation Technician 2 in December of 1962.
Bucky’s training in Aviation Electronics then helped him to secure a job with the Sikorsky Aircraft Plant in Connecticut. Eleven years later, he was one of three thousand employees to lose their jobs due to the de-escalation of the Vietnam War. His next employment was with the Bunker Ramo Computer Corporation, where he worked for a year.
While living in Connecticut, Bucky decided to purchase a banjo and take lessons. He now has four!
In May of 1975, Bucky decided to re-enlist. The US Navy needed his skills and offered him re-entry at his old rank and a large bonus. He was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, which was conducting maneuvers in the Mediterranean, when the carrier battle group was challenged by two SU-22’s of Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan Air Force. One of the planes fired a missile that missed the Nimitz. Both planes were subsequently shot down by two F-14 Tomcats from the carrier. After serving an additional sixteen years he retired as a Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8) at the age of 52 on June 30, 1991.
In his retirement years, Bucky’s love of country and blue grass music led him to join the Old Time Fiddlers. He enjoyed playing the banjo with the late Johnny Beers, Steve Jacobi and his close friends in the group.
He was an active member of the Pleasant Mount American Legion Post 964, and every Tuesday you could find him working at the Pleasant Mount Community Center – usually doing electrical work. He was a charter member of the Ponderosa Hunting Club. Bucky enjoyed videotaping and photographing “Bonnie’s Bullets” (Danny Bourke, Maury Urmanec, Jack Burcher and Bonnie Beers) during their numerous triathlons. His nieces and nephew were some of his favorite subjects.
Bucky is survived by his twin sisters Sally Urmanec (Maury) and Joan Eidenier (John), nephew David Zelkowitz and nieces Julie Garman, Allison Zelkowitz (Mike Bruce) and Mary Brown (Adrian); as well as, great nephews Ethan and Ryan Garman, Thomas Bruce and great nieces Sarah and Danielle Brown.
He was predeceased by his brothers Jimmy and Danny Bourke.
Calling hours will be held on Friday, September 16 from 5-7 at the Howell Family Funeral Home, Inc. Jenkins-Howell Chapel, 269 Belmont Street, Waymart, PA.
A funeral mass will be held on Saturday, September 17 at 10:30AM at St. James Church in Pleasant Mount, PA.
Burial will take place at the convenience of the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Pleasant Mount Community Center, 377 Great Bend Tpke, Pleasant Mount, PA 18453; the American Legion Post 964, c/o Hall’s Auto, 1081 Great Bend Tpke, Pleasant Mount, PA 18453; or the Old Time Fiddlers, 17 Fiddler Lane, Equinunk, PA 18417.
Arrangements are entrusted to the Howell Family Funeral Home, Inc. Jenkins-Howell Chapel, 269 Belmont Street, Waymart, PA 18472. Edward R. Howell, Funeral Director.