Roger Allen Burke

Burke 4-2016

Roger Allen Burke, age 74 years, passed away on April 15, 2016 in Webster, Texas. He was born on November 15, 1941 in Lincoln, Nebraska to John Sterling Morton “Barney” Burke and Mollie Lutz Burke. Roger is survived by his wife, Elma Lou “Lucy” Burke (whom he married on May 16, 1964); son Johnathan and wife Betsy; grandchildren, Jessica Tyo-Burke, Jeremy Burke and his fiancée Chelsea Atkinson, and Landry Burke.

Roger earned a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Degree at the University of Nebraska in June 1966. At that time, his nation was calling for new engineering graduates to join the American Space Program. He was one of hundreds hired and immediately moved to Houston to join the Manned Spacecraft Center as Aerospace Engineer developing computer programs (as they existed at that time) to aid in launching and sending manned spacecraft into space and to the moon and return them safely back to earth. He continued a career at this facility from the Gemini program through Apollo and on through the International Space Station program. He retired from NASA in 1998 and immediately joined Hughes Raytheon for another seven years. He received much professional recognition, prestigious awards, and authored several scientific papers. Astronaut crews trusted and respected his knowledge and expertise with his tough training for their missions, especially the well-known Apollo 13 ill-fated mission where he assisted in helping test and simulate the changes in the trajectory of that moon mission to enable the three members of the crew to get back to earth alive.

Roger had a personal passion to search his heritage and genealogy on his father’s side and accumulated over 40,000 relatives in his database. His mother immigrated from a country in early childhood that did not permit research there. He also had a singing talent that he seldom shared but had stored a vast repertoire of “oldies” songs in his memory and when someone mentioned some phrase during conversation he could begin to sing a song having that phrase. He did not sing in public but loved to sing along with the radio and as he tooled around the property on the riding lawn mower.

Visitation will be 10 a.m.- 12 noon on Tuesday, April 19th, at Crowder Funeral Home, 111 E. Medical Center Blvd. Webster, TX, with a viewing from 1 pm to 3 pm followed by a funeral service at 3 p.m. at Gateway Community Church, 760 Clear Lake City Blvd., Webster. Graveside services and burial will be at 11 a.m. on April 29th at Lincoln Memorial Park Funeral Home and Cemetery, 6800 S. 14th St., Lincoln, Nebraska where his many family members and progenitors rest.

Roger was preceded in death by his parents and his brother John A. Burke (2010).

Memorial donations in Roger’s name may be made to your favorite charity.


  1. Sincere condolences to Roger’s family. we will miss his wit, ingenuity and honesty as we always knew where we stood with Roger. He provided novel and ingenious solutions that directly contributed to the success of our manned space program.
    As a training and simulator engineer he was not in the public eye to gather the glory that others in the limelight garnished but it was not because he did not deserve the accolades but because he relished solving the problems as they developed and rapidly moved on the next challenge rather than dwelling on the great services he had just provided. When wrong, which was not frequently, he was always man enough to admit it and move on. We will miss his personality and problem solving capabilities. He deserves all the accolades he has received and more. I will miss you my good friend.

    Humberto (Bert) Davila
  2. Too many of our wonderful NASA colleagues like Roger Burke who accomplished so much during the 1960s are now beginning to pass and are no longer on this earth with us. We continue to love and miss all of them.

    “The clock of life is wound but once, and no man has the power to tell just when the hands will stop, at late or early hour. Now is the only time we own. Live, love, learn, enjoy to the utmost the wonderful hours each of us has left. Place no faith in time … for our clock of life may soon be still.”
    James Visentine
    NASA Class of 1964

    James Visentine
  3. The Burke Family,
    Each of you are in our thoughts & prayers for comfort & peace. May God give you the strength you need as you each continue on with your life.

    Rose Mary & Frank Bates

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