John E.  Burks


John E. Burks
May 7, 1925 - April 22, 2019

John E. Burks, age 93, passed away on April 22, 2019. Born on May 7, 1925 as the eldest son of Ed S. and Aileen Burks, he grew up in McAlester and graduated from McAlester High School in 1943. Within a month of his high school graduation he entered the U.S. Navy and served aboard the USS Oceanus in the Pacific theater through the end of World War II.
Following honorable discharge from the U.S. Navy in 1946 John returned to McAlester and married Juanita Ruth Cobb in August of that year. In September the newly wed couple moved to Norman where John began study at the University of Oklahoma and became a lifelong Sooner fan, never missing a chance to fly the Sooner flag and root for the Crimson and Cream.
Upon completion of three years of study at OU John decided to return to McAlester. He worked for a brief period with his brother, Ted, in a radio-television distribution business and served as assistant manager of the McAlester Chamber of Commerce before taking a position as field representative for the McAlester Scottish Rite Consistory, known as the Indian Consistory, in October 1950. John served in this capacity until 1954 when he ventured out as manager of an Oklahoma Tire and Supply store in Tulsa until 1957 after which he rejoined the McAlester Scottish Rite Consistory where he rose to serve as General Secretary until his retirement in 1990. In addition to his membership in the Scottish Rite, John was a member of the South McAlester 96 Blue Lodge, the York Rite, the Red Cross of Constantine and the Bedouin Shrine. John served as Dad for the Daniel M. Hailey Chapter, Order of DeMolay of which he was a past Master Councilor. He was a 33° Mason.
John was a member and Elder of the McAlester First Presbyterian Church. He served as a lay minister for Presbyterian churches in Stringtown and Atoka for several years in the late 50's and early 60's. He was an active Rotarian, served a term as President of the McAlester Rotary Club and for many years was the editor for the club's monthly newsletter, The Rotarian.
John loved to fish, particularly for crappie, and enjoyed playing golf. He was an avid crossword puzzle solver and would spend hours piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. He had a group of Masonic friends that met monthly for dinner over many years.
John was preceded in death by his first wife, Juanita, his eldest daughter, Cheryl Burks-Beeler, and his second wife, Mirlene Conard-Burks. He is survived by his sister, Patricia Burks-Wilson of Denver, Co.; his brother Theodore (Ted) Burks (Ada) of Grapevine, Tx.; his son, John E. Jr. (Mary) of Coupeville, Wa.; son, Robert (Theresa) of Chattanooga, Tn; daughter, Valerie Burks-Shimp (Upton), McAlester; stepdaughter, Lynn Conard-Blongewicz (Mark), Tulsa; stepson, Steve Conard (Kathy), Tulsa; his 5 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
A memorial service will be 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 30 at the McAlester First Presbyterian Church.
Published on April 24, 2019
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1 posts

Debbie Darnell Pilgrim
Apr 29, 2019
Thoughts and prayers for all the family.