James Walter Burke (Big Jim), 69, died Friday, August 20 after battling a short illness. Jim was preceded in death by his parents Ray and Alice Burke.
Jim was larger than life. Many remember him from his days at Spanky’s Southside and Westside.
Jim was also known by many as “Coach”. Coach Burke taught in Savannah Chatham Co. Public School System for over 2 decades. He taught at both Myers Middle School and Jenkins High School. He also coached multiple sports at both schools. Even after he retired in 2019, Coach Burke continued to be substitute teacher.
The titles that Jim loved the most were dad and Big Papa. Jim is survived by his daughters Madison Hurst (Tommy) and Kaitie Reichenberger (Louis). He has a granddaughter, Chloe Grace Hurst, and a grandson, Ryder Hurst. Jim would have been a Big Papa again in January 2022 to Kinsley Reichenberger.
Jim is survived by 4 brothers and a sister as well as their spouses. He also had many nieces and nephews.
Due to COVID19 restrictions, the family has elected to hold a private immediate family only service.
Contributions may be made to the University of South Carolina Alumni Association at:
UofSC Alumni Association
It’s a GREAT day to be a Gamecock!
So sorry to hear of the loss of a friend and teammate at the Univ. of South Carolina.Always enjoyed his company and sense of humor. True Gamecock that will be truly missed. God Bless the Burke family and friends. My prayers and thoughts are with you at this difficult time. Dana Carpenter 55.
- Dana Carpenter, Elmira, NY.
My deepest condolences on the passing of Big Jim. May he Rest In Peace.
- Joe C Upchurch Jr, Tega Cay, SC
I miss you dad. We all do. Go Gamecocks
- Madison Hurst, Guyton, Ga
Lost a teammate and a friend. Shared a lot of sweat and smiles with Jim he will be missed.
- Randy Spinks, High Point, NC
We lost another member of the USC freshman class of '70, and Jim will be missed. Jim was a kind, good man and will be missed by all of his USC freshman football classmates. My sincerest condolences to Jim's family and our hearts and prayers are with you.
- Tom Leslie, Asheville, NC
Jim was my friend and comrade. We even dated several times and had lots in common.. We were both educators. I was the Music Teacher at Jenkins and later Scott Middle. I loved Big Jim and he was my favorite Bartender. We would all gather at Spanky's for an after school cocktail. Watched him Coach many a football game for Jenkins and Groves. Rest in peace my friend, as you are loved by many.
- Mitzi Asbury Lutz Moore, Savannah, GA
I love you dad and miss you everyday
- Kaitie Reichenberger , Wichita, Kansas
My prayers are with your family during this time, Coach Burke was very influential in my daughter loving basketball as much as she does and working hard to achieve her goals as a player. He will be missed.
- Shawna Hamilton, SAVANNAH, ga
I was so sorry to hear of the loss of Jim. We went to School together in the Chatham County School system & he was an old friend. Please know that you & your family will be in my thoughts & in my prayers.
- Margaret Daniels Reese, Cumming, Ga
Sorry to see that big Jim had passed away. Great guy. Condolences to his family.
- Bob White, Greensboro , Ga
I was so sorry to hear about Jimmy. He was such a nice guy I’ve known him since elementary school and we graduated from Jenkins together he was known as a gentle giant he will be missed our prayers with your family
- Dianne Reiser Cornwell, Savannah, GA
Services under the direction of:
Fox & Weeks Funeral Directors, Hodgson Chapel