The Rev. James T. O’Reilly Division 8 of Lawrence, Massachusetts and the Irish Foundation of Lawrence will honor the late David R. Burke with the dedication of a plaque in his memory at the An Gorta Mor Memorial in the Immaculate Conception Cemetery, 29 Barker Street, Lawrence, Massachusetts on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at 1 PM. Former Ambassador to the Vatican, Raymond Flynn, will be the principal speaker. Ireland’s Consul General to Boston, Michael Lonergan, as well as other representatives of the Irish Government are expected to be in attendance. AOH and LAOH National, State, County Officers, as well as AOH and LAOH Division Officers throughout Massachusetts are expected to attend. Public officials and civic leaders on the national, state and local levels as well as many other Irish organizations throughout the New England area will also be present for the dedication. A reception followed the dedication at the Claddagh Pub and Restaurant in Lawrence.
David R. Burke was a member of Division 8 for over 40 years and served as an officer in various capacities on the National, State and County Boards as well as on the Division level. An enthusiastic supporter of Irish history and culture, he was instrumental in organizing and orchestrating annually Irish Heritage Month in the City of Lawrence. David Burke was the founder and President of the Irish Foundation of Lawrence, Inc., as well as the founder of the Irish Room and Hibernian Collection at the South Lawrence Branch Library, which houses one of the largest collections of Irish books, media, memorabilia and periodicals in the Northeast. David Burke chaired and led the campaign to build the An Gorta Mor Monument in Lawrence in 2006. Mr. Burke was the recipient of the Irish Echo’s Golden Bridges Award in 2007, as well as the recipient of the AOH National Board’s Sean MacBride Humanitarian Award in 2007.
Mr. Burke served organizations well beyond his Hibernian and Irish circles. An employee of the Lawrence Housing Authority and volunteer for the City of Lawrence on many fronts, he was a board member of Lawrence’s International Institute, the Advisory Board of Lawrence Heritage State Park, the Immigrant City Archives, the Lawrence Cultural Alliance, the Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Public Library, as well as a host of other organizations. A lifelong resident, advocate and supporter of the City of Lawrence and Irish history and culture, he was a tireless worker whose work will forever live on in the annual celebrations of Lawrence’s Irish Heritage Month, the Hibernian Collection, the AOH and the Irish Foundation. After a long and courageous battle with cancer, David R. Burke died on May 27, 2009. He was survived by his wife, Patricia and a son, Kevin
The Rev. James T. O’Reilly OSA Division 8, Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish Foundation and the Irish American Community of Greater Lawrence built and dedicated in May, 2006 a monument as a tribute to the Irish of Greater Lawrence. The An Gorta Mor Memorial consists of two tablets, a shamrock tablet made out of Barre Granite, along with a Celtic Cross. The cornerstone from the original Hibernian Home on White Street in Lawrence built in 1887 is also part of the Memorial.
Four bronze tablets honor the three Past AOH and LAOH National Presidents from Lawrence: AOH Past National President John E. Fenton; AOH Past National President Joseph P. Kerrigan; LAOH Past National President Margaret M. Webb; as well as Division 8 LAOH Foundress, Katherine A. O’Keefe O’Mahoney are included. The Celtic Cross has the inscription of the four Irish Provinces: Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught and the names of the 32 Counties of Ireland in English and Irish, as well as two inscriptions. A time capsule is included as part of the memorial where loved ones names have been placed as a means of honor and respect.
On November 7, 2010 a bronze plaque will be added to the An Gorta Mor Memorial to honor the memory and celebrate the life and accomplishments of David R. Burke, lifelong Lawrencian, one of the most outstanding Hibernians in the history of Division 8 AOH and one of the greatest Irish Americans of our lifetime.