MR. BURKE

Palm Beach Daily News - - TODAY -

tor of the Honda Clas­sic, who knew Mr. Burke for nearly 30 years.

Aside from his 27-year ca­reer at The Break­ers, Mr. Burke served as an am­bas­sador for the Honda Clas­sic, a trusted ad­viser for Dis­cover the Palm Beaches’ board of di­rec­tors, the vice chair­man of the Palm Beach County Tourist Devel­op­ment Coun­cil, and pres­i­dent of the Florida Restau­rant Lodg­ing As­so­ci­a­tion.

He was a gi­ant in the South Florida tourism in­dus­try, his friends said.

“He was cer­tainly highly re­spected,” said Jorge Pes­quera, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Dis­cover the Palm Beaches. “He’s go­ing to be tremen­dously missed in the in­dus­try.”

Orig­i­nally from Beth­le­hem, Pa., Mr. Burke grad­u­ated from Florida In­ter­na­tional Uni­ver­sity with a de­gree in hos­pi­tal­ity man­age­ment be­fore tak­ing his first job at the Boca Ra­ton Re­sort & Club. Two years later he joined Hy­att, where he over­saw mar­ket­ing for ho­tels across the coun­try.

In 1991, he joined The Break­ers, where he helped steer the ho­tel into the 21st cen­tury, hir­ing some of the coun­try’s top tal­ent for po­si­tions on his sales and mar­ket­ing team.

“(He) was one of my clos­est con­fi­dants,” Paul Leone, pres­i­dent of The Break­ers, said in an email.

“He was a su­per­star and an in­tense com­peti­tor who never once missed a sales goal or mar­ket­ing bud­get in all those years.”

Mr. Burke also was com­pet­i­tive on the golf course.

“Burkie was al­ways full of fun. He was an un­for­get­table kind of char­ac­ter,” said broad­caster Bryant Gum­bel, who first met Mr. Burke while golf­ing in Hawaii more than 30 years ago. “He grabbed life and he en­joyed it.”

Gum­bel also said Mr. Burke was a ded­i­cated fam­ily man, who had just re­cently taken a cruise with his wife, Amy, to cel­e­brate their 25th an­niver­sary.

“His two boys are a shin­ing ex­am­ple of how good a job he and Amy did,” Gum­bel said.

Among his co-work­ers, he was a re­spected leader who gave wise coun­sel.

“He was larger than life,” said Mark Ha­is­field, Mr. Burke’s friend of 30 years. “A guy that would al­ways do any­thing for you.”

At the monthly Palm Beach Cham­ber of Com­merce break­fast meet­ing Thurs­day at The Break­ers, the Rev. David Carr, pres­i­dent of Car­di­nal New­man High School, said he had just seen Mr. Burke at a Car­di­nal New­man foot­ball game last week.

“He is in our hearts,” Carr told the room of hun­dreds. “He is in our prayers.”

In a state­ment, The Break­ers said Mr. Burke was “beloved by all who knew him.”

“Dave’s con­tri­bu­tion to The Break­ers and the in­dus­try was im­mea­sur­able — we will all miss him,” the state­ment read.

Mr. Burke, who lived in West Palm Beach, is sur­vived by his wife and two sons, Matt and Ryan.

Mr. Burke

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