A Key Town businessman and one of Clifden’s proudest sons passed away at his residence in Kilgarave on the 3rd of January. One of eight children, Jim was born to master tailors in 1932. Like many of the time, at 17 he left home to find work, joining his father in London, to support the family back home.
He found more than work though, meeting the love of his life, Margaret, at a dancehall in 1954, before quickly tying the knot on 16th April 1955. They settled into married life in Manchester, having 6 kids in 7 years before answering the call to return home to Ireland.
Talented entrepreneurs, they opened Re-New-It Dry Cleaners on Dunlo St in 1969 and spent the next few decades establishing it as one of the most reliable and professional services in town and themselves as respected pillars of the community.
Never without his signature full suit and tie, Jim loved betting horses and winding down with a pint or 4 of Guinness in his corner of Declan Eagan’s Pub (previously Oliver’s and later Brewery Lane),regaling friends and visitors with his tall, often unbelievable tales, and if you were really lucky, a song or two – The Forty Shades of Green and Galway Shawl being his go-to favorites.
He and his beloved Margaret retired in the early 1990s and dedicated the rest of their years to travel, especially to California where 4 of their 6 children and their families now live. Trips around Europe, to Mexico, Las Vegas, New York, Alaska, Washington D.C., and of course to San Francisco filled their years with so much laughter, incredible friends, and immense amounts of love.
They loved their months in the sunshine and spending countless hours getting to know their Yankee grandkids. Jim could often be found soaking up the sun in the back yard before heading down to his “abroad local” Fiddlers Green in Millbrae, CA, where he had his very own corner and a pint or 4 of Coors Light, his holiday drink of choice.
Genial Jim Burke was larger than life –he never met a stranger, walked like he owned every street in whatever country he was in – his marble-topped cane adding even more gravitas to his already impressive silhouette – and met many world leaders, including US Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Governor Gavin Newsom, and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to name a few, he loved their parties where often he knew more the guests than they did!
Jim lived life to the fullest and so perfectly embodied his personal catchphrase, “When you’re out, you’re out.” Though he will be greatly missed, the knowledge of Jim reuniting with his beloved Margaret brings much comfort to his family and friends.
To his sister Teda in Manchester, his children and their partners in Ballinasloe & California, Reita, Frances, Catherine, James, Caroline, and John, his 11 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and countless beloved nieces, nephews, and friends we offer our sympathies .
CLICK HERE to read the Latest Ballinasloe News Articles