Jack Burke, Jr. Dies at 100

Yesterday was a sad day.

Jack Burke, Jr, legendary professional golfer, instructor, Ryder Cup captain, and founder of Champions Golf Club, died at the age of 100 years.

His death is big news, being picked up by USA today, the Golf Channel and other local and national news outlets. His life though is the story.

As a member at Champions golf club, I had the honor of knowing Mr. Burke. Over the years, I would talk with him when I saw him in the dinning room, coming out of his office at the club, or on the driving range. He was a friendly man and was generous with his time.

Over the last year I saw him more often, usually on Sunday mornings. He would eat a late breakfast the same time each Sunday in the bar area adjoining the dinning room. I would go there for breakfast after our early church service. He was always there.

There are not many golf clubs around the country with a multiple major golf champion walking the halls daily and who will freely answer your questions about the golf swing, his career, or just life in general. But that was Mr. Burke, and it was only one of the many reasons so many loved him.

Almost a year ago today, he sat down next to me at the bar for breakfast at Champions. It was a week before his 100th birthday. I asked him what the secret to a long life was. He said, “Not trying to be someone you aren’t.” He then told me, “Your scorecard and your banker will tell you who you really are.” So, true. Mr. Burke was full of wisdom like that.

When I heard yesterday he had passed peacefully in his sleep at the age of 100, I immediately thought of Isaiah’s prophecy about lifespans on earth after the Kingdom had leavened the earth:

Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; the one who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere child; and the one who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.

Isaiah 65:20

Jack Burke was a remarkable man, and part of what made him remarkable was the sheer volume of life experiences and relationships accumulated from an exceptionally long life in the world of golf.

How much wisdom might I gain if could continue to practice law, mentor lawyers, and continue to cultivate relationships at the highest level in the legal field for 100 years? How much could you in your work?

Isaiah gives examples of some of the other blessings that will flow from the long life spans we will see as the Kingdom advances in the earth:

They will build houses and inhabit them; They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They will not build and another inhabit; They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, and my chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.

Isaiah 65:21-23.

Mr. Burke was a blessing to us in part because he was blessed with an exceptionally long life, and he lived it well. GS

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