Sunday, December 09, 2001

Obituary: Michael Burke, CEO, was leader

Lawyer helped others

By Betsy Stakauskas and Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Michael J. Burke was happiest when he could make someone else's life easier, his brother said.

        “He enjoyed having a purpose and he was good at it. He was a man of action, not leisure,” said Pat Burke of Hyde Park. Michael Burke, a business leader, volunteer and family man, died Thursday from cancer at Christ Hospital. The Hyde Park resident was 58.

        Mr. Burke was managing partner at Keating, Muething & Klekamp, a downtown law firm, and CEO and chairman of the board of KMK Consulting Co.

        “Mike was an outstanding entrepreneurial business lawyer, but he was more than a lawyer to his clients,” said Don Klekamp, a 33-year partner of Mr. Burke's at KMK.

        “He was a confidante and trusted adviser.”

        Mr. Burke was a member of Christ the King Church in Mount Lookout. He served as president of the parish council and co-chaired its capital campaign in 1991 to build a parish center.

        He was also president of the education commission.

        In 1998, the Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater Cincinnati, a group of three residential homes for troubled children, honored Mr. Burke with the Heart of Gold Award for providing the leadership and inspiration to expand the original Boys Hope to include girls.

        In 1991, the Cincinnati Club of the University of Notre Dame chose him as Man of the Year.

        Mr. Burke was salutatorian at Newport Central Catholic High School in 1961. He graduated first from the University of Notre Dame in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in business adminis tration and then as salutatorian from the University of Cincinnati Law School in 1968.

        He joined KMK after law school and had been a managing partner since 1988. Mr. Burke's practice was in the area of securities, banking and major transactions. Since 1977, he had specialized in closely held and family-owned entrepreneurial businesses. He lectured on these issues at UC and business seminars.

        He was a member of the Ohio and American bar associations.

        Shirley Speaks, executive director of the Ursuline Foundation for Ursuline Academy in Blue Ash, credited Mr. Burke as the force behind the 1987 campaign for the endowment fund that built the school theater.

        Mr. Burke was a member of the Hyde Park Country Club. His hobbies included bicycling, reading and spending time with his family.

        He lived 10 doors down from his brother, Pat. “He was the center of his family's universe and he will be missed deeply,” said his wife of 33 years, Marcia Elliott Burke.

        Besides his wife and brother, survivors include two sons, Michael J. Burke Jr. and Brian E. Burke, both of Hyde Park; three daughters, Tricia M. O'Hare of Chevy Chase, Md., Jennifer B. Hartman of Chicago and Anne E. Burke of Hyde Park; three sisters, Bonnie Thelen and Julie Lange, both of Lakeside Park, Ky.; and Jayne Beiting of Fort Thomas, Ky.; and one grandchild.

        Visitation will be 1 p.m. Monday until Mass of Christian burial at 3 p.m. at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, Eighth and Plum streets, downtown.

        Memorials can be made to Boys Hope Girls Hope of Greater Cincinnati, 340 Gest St., Cincinnati, OH 45203; or to the Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Burke Scholarship Fund, University of Notre Dame, 1100 Grace Hall, South Bend, , IN 46556-5602.


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