Michael loved life and lived it to the fullest. He did more in his short 27 years than most do in a full lifetime. He will be missed terribly by all those whose lives he touched.

Memories of Michael

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From: Sara Hammes (August 2005)

To the Burke family,

I got to know Mike in Chicago a few years ago through many mutual friends we had from Iowa. I had heard so much about this Mike Burke guy - from my guy friends about how crazy and fun he was and from my girl friends about how polite and nice he was. Once I got to know him, I realized that both we’re right. Mike was so much fun to be around. He was always up for anything: going to concerts, dance performances, watching Hawkeye games, eating sushi, you name it. He was so open-minded, I think he’d try anything. One time a few years ago he and I went to a Neil Diamond cover band at the House of Blues. It was a blast and I don’t know many other guy friends of mine that would have done that with me.

Mike asked me to join him on a RAGBRAI training ride one morning a couple years ago. I enjoy biking so I was happy to ride along. Half way thru the ride we took a break in a park and he pulled two Old Style Lights out of his backpack. I laughed and he said “well this is a RAGBRAI training ride, Hammes”. So we sat and drank our beers at 10 in the morning and didn’t care that the other bikers and runners looked at us funny.

Like I said, there was more to Mike than just being fun to hang out with. He was talented, and used his talents to bring joy to others. He always tried to make others feel comfortable and welcome. He was outgoing enough to introduce himself to everyone at a party. And his singing brought smiles to many faces, whether is was karaoke-ing at a bar or singing in church. I’ve seen him do both and have been blown away. I recognized Mike from the Newman singers when I met him. I used to attend mass there when I was in college. I would take my grandmother to the Christmas concerts and she enjoyed that tremendously. Their singing brought her joy during a hard time in her last few years with us. I hope Mike is singing for her in heaven now and putting a smile on her face.

I will miss Mike terribly but I am so happy to have gotten to know him and been able to call him my friend. My heart goes out to you.

Sara Hammes

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