Samuel Lewis “Sam” Burke waged his final campaign against the villains of this world on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at Holston Valley Medical Center in Kingsport, Tennessee. He was 36 years old.
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Sam was born on September 30, 1983, to the joy of his parents, Ronald L. and Valerie G. Burke, and their son Kevin. He was a quiet and playful child who spent most of his time with toys, television, and with his brother and their imaginations in the woods. When a baby sister came along, he and Kevin worked hard to include Sara in the fun and games.
Early on Sam developed a passion for video games that started with the Super Mario Bros., continued to Street Fighter, and eventually expanded to modern games ranging from World of Warcraft to Path of Exile and even Minecraft and the hated Fortnite. For Sam, gaming grew to be about the friendships in the community of gamers. He could enjoy a long-distance campaign of Dungeons and Dragons, or simply set up a game of cards with friends. He most likely expressed himself best as a player of games.
Many will remember Sam as a quiet, reserved person who revealed only what was necessary in the moment. But to a special few, Sam gave much more. Sam could joke irreverently, he could laugh uproariously; Sam would often listen attentively to your darkest secrets and lock them away in a safe place that never saw the light of day and never will.
Sam cared and gave generously of himself. Everyday Sam improved the lives of those he loved.
In professional life, Sam was first a manager at local pizza restaurants. He was renowned in the community as friendly and helpful to every customer and a tireless supporter of his employees. Later in his career he joined the Citi family in Gray, where he always lent a helping hand and invariably offered a joke or a smile when needed. Sam was both an introvert and the consummate team player.
He made thousands of friends and acquaintances in many states and countries across these too-few years. He was loved by many and will be missed by all.
Preceding Sam in death were his father Ronnie Burke, his paternal grandparents, Red and Erma Burke, his maternal grandparents, Larry and Bonnie Middleton, and several beloved aunts and uncles. He is survived by his mother, Valerie Burke, brother Kevin (Cheri) Burke, sister Sara Burke (Adam Knight), nephew Xander Williams, uncles Jeff (Lisa) Burke, Randy (Stacy) Burke, Clyde Tippy, aunt Deborah Chicki, and countless cousins.
In lieu of flowers, in the spirit of Sam’s giving heart, please donate to a worthy charity or, if unable to donate, please pay forward an act of kindness to anyone in need.
The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 PM, on Saturday, June 27, 2020, with a Celebration of Life service immediately following at East Tennessee Funeral Home, 2630 Highway 75, Blountville, TN 37617.
East Tennessee Funeral Home & Cemetery is honored to serve the family of Samuel Lewis “Sam” Burke.