Pvt. Harold M. Burke was born in Franklin,
Louisiana on October 7, 1916 to S. P. and
Emelina Burke. Maternal grandmother was
Mrs. Elenora Legnon. Harold's parents moved
to Port Arthur, Texas where he attended
In 1939, he married Gertrude Ruth Lee.
They had two children, Carolyn Ann Burke
born in 1940 and Ronald Harold Burke born
Harold Burke joined the Army in January 1943
and attended training camp at Camp Fannin in
Tyler, Texas graduating April 13, 1943. At
Camp Fannin he was part of Company 54A TR BA.
He was then sent to the European theatre on
the World War II battlefront where he was a
member of the 2nd Infantry Division known as
the Indianheads, Co B - 9th Infantry Regiment.
Pvt. Burke was wounded on December 16, 1944
at what became known as Heartbreak Crossroads
and the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge.
He was sent to a hospital in England to recover
from his wounds. Pvt. Burke received the Purple
Heart and the Infantry Combat Medal. And he
was honorably discharged on November 3, 1945.
Pvt. Burke spent most of his adult years in
Port Arthur, Texas before and after the war.
He moved to Beaumont, Texas in 1960 where he
met and married Lillian Maxine G. Burke.
He attended Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas
where he made his home until his death on June
15, 1976. Harold Burke was employed by Goodyear
Tire and Rubber Company at the time of his death.
He had a heart attack while driving home on Phelan
Blvd.and hit a utility pole just a few blocks from
his house at 690 Peyton Drive. No one else was
injured and he was alone in his car.
Harold was the eldest of five children. He is
survived by a sister Ethel Van Cleave of Port
Neches, TX (now in Granbury) and a sister Gloria
Mae Fordyce currently of Lampasas, TX. He has two
surviving brothers, Sidney Burke of Boulder, CO
and Warren Burke of Port Arthur, TX. (Uncle Warren
died in 2005.)
Of his two children, Carolyn resides in Port Neches,
Texas and is the webmaster of this website. His
son, Ron, lives in Rochester, Pennsylvania. He has
several surviving nieces, nephews, grand children
and great grand children.
Uncle Sidney now lives in New Braunfels, Texas
and Aunt Gloria now lives in the Huntsville area
near her son. Aunt Gloria said daddy also had frozen
feet. So he was sent to a hospital in England for
the shoulder wound where the shrapnel was too close
to his heart to operate and for the frost bite,
both feet. It's understandable since there was snow
on the ground, fog in the air, and freezing temperatures.
I learned that their uniforms were frozen. On top
of all that they were being fired upon while crossing
land mines and cutting their way through concertina wire.
Read about the Battle of the Bulge which began
the day daddy was wounded at Heartbreak Crossroads.
Harold M. Burke is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery
in Beaumont, Texas in the Azalea Garden section.
Harold is remembered as a very loving and generous
man well respected by his peers. His daughter remembers
him as an accordion and chromatic harmonica player
and a singer. Daddy played not only the accordion and
the harmonica but he played the Hawaiian steel guitar
and could play any instrument he got his hands on
according to Aunt Gloria.
As brother Ron said, "Daddy Burke was a member of
without a doubt the Greatest generation."
The photo was taken in Glasgow Scotland in 1945.
Daddy Burke brought back a small hand crank sewing
machine from Germany and gave it to me. My grandmother
Dugas was a seamstress and I would watch her when she put
paper up to my body and traced an outline. I did that with
my dolls and started sewing at age four. I have been a
professional seamstress thanks to that small sewing machine.
Add to that I, Carolyn, have been a soloist and vocalist
with several bands and choirs. I played the tambourine.
In high school I played the bugle. And in grade school and
college I played the piano and played for some churches.
However I am a retired nurse with my specialty in physical
rehabilitation for brain injury survivors and special needs
children. Musical wise I reckon after both daddy Burke and
our mother who was a great sewer and singer too.
Be sure to check out about the author of this site to
learn more about me. Go here and scroll down to About