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Gary D. Burke, 53

Gary Dennis Burke, age 53, of Watertown, passed away suddenly Tuesday, May 1, 2012, surrounded by loved ones.

He was born Oct. 23, 1958, in Laurel, MT, the youngest of three children born to Marji and Lester Burke.

Gary grew up loving life, enjoying all kinds of sports activities including golf, baseball, basketball, and football. Golf was his true passion, and he earned his first tournament trophy at age 6.

He also excelled at baseball and was drafted by the Kansas City Royals as a pitcher; however, he chose golf, and played for the University of Montana.

After graduation, he was an assistant golf professional at the Laurel Country Club and traveled on the western PGA circuit.

After a whirlwind romance, Gary married Susan Thorsbakken April 7, 1984.

Gary’s career moved into banking, where he spent 28 years in various management roles at Marquette Bank, Bremer Bank in Watertown, and his final position as market president of People’s Bank of Commerce. He loved helping his customers and working with his employees.

A very proud father, Gary was actively involved in the lives of his daughters, Lindsay and Alexandra, coaching many of their basketball and other sports teams. He was a genuine, authentic role model for the girls, and was always there to help them with anything that they ever needed.

Gary had a zest for living every minute of every day to the max. His unpretentious, quiet strength benefitted all who knew and loved him. He valued the simple joys in life and had a passion for golfing, traveling, and going to the cabin, where he loved sitting by the lake listening to the loons, or taking a well-deserved nap in his hammock.

A generous man, Gary was always looking for opportunities to surprise and help others. He was active in the community, serving on the Watertown Chamber of Commerce and Watertown Lions Club, and volunteered at Trinity Lutheran Church, as well as the local schools. Gary’s final act of giving was as an organ donor through LifeSource.

Gary is survived by his wife Susan; daughters Lindsay and Alexandra; a sister, Cindy; and many friends and other relatives.

He was preceded in death by his dad, Lester; mother Marji; and a brother, Cliff.

A memorial service took place Saturday, May 5, at 11 a.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown with Pastor David Weeks officiating. Interment followed in the church cemetery.

Funeral services took place Saturday, May 5 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown. The Rev. David Weeks officiated, and interment followed in the church cemetery.

Visitation was Friday, May 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown, ending with an opportunity for all to share memories and stories; and continued for one hour prior to the service Saturday.

Arrangements were by the Iten’s Watertown Funeral Home.