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March 23, 2023

Public funeral services, celebration of life announced for former Chief Burke

Public viewing to be held May 4 at St. John’s Catholic Church, public funeral service and celebration of life planned for May 6

This week, the Healdsburg Police Department announced plans for former Healdsburg Police Chief Kevin Burke’s public funeral services and celebration of life service. Burke died unexpectedly earlier this month from an apparent suicide.

A public viewing will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 4 at St. John’s Catholic Church at 208 Matheson Street.

A public mass funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 6 at St. John’s Catholic Church. On the same day, there will be a public celebration of live service held at Plaza Park at 12 p.m.

“Please join retired Chief Burke’s family, friends, and Healdsburg Police Department staff in honoring and celebrating his life and his many contributions to the community,” the police department announcement states.

The memorial plans for Burke were also announced during the April 18 Healdsburg City Council meeting.

Following the regular agenda items, Mayor Ozzy Jimenez offered time for council members to share their thoughts about former Chief Burke.

Councilmember David Hagele was at a conference in Washington D.C. when he learned the news about Burke and said he ended up speaking with some of Burke’s friends.

“It was really fun to hear the stories of Chief Burke as a person because I knew him as the police chief and it was really fun to hear those stories and I look forward to the memorial to hear additional stories. He will be missed,” Hagele said.

Vice Mayor Ariel Kelley agreed that Burke will be sorely missed. Mitchell said she too is looking forward to the memorial.

“I am looking forward to being with everyone at the ceremony,” Mitchell said.

Before the Monday meeting was adjourned in Burke’s honor, Jimenez shared a few words about Burke.

“I want to take some time to honor the memory of our former police chief Kevin Burke, who passed away earlier this month. He was kind, caring and loved his department and his town. Our hearts go out to his friends, family, city staff that worked with him for so long and his loved ones. The city of Healdsburg honors and remembers you. Thank you for your service chief Burke,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez also asked the council and meeting attendees and viewers to join him in a moment of silence in honor of Burke.

Burke was also recently honored in Healdsburg City Manager Jeff Kay’s latest city manager report.

In his message, Kay said while such a loss is hard to comprehend, he’s seen things that bring comfort during this difficult time. 

“The outpouring of tributes has shined a light on the things that made Kevin so special: his sense of community, his kindness, his dignity. It is clear that he was universally liked and respected and touched many, many people. In ways small and large, I’ve seen our City family come together to take care of one another, offering stories and support when it is needed most,” Kay said in the city manager report. “In sharing memories and stories, I’ve been reminded that, in addition to his exemplary public service, Chief Burke was also a wickedly funny co-worker – somebody that we all loved to be around. Work with Kevin was never drudgery. He took it seriously and he had high standards, but that never came out the expense of having fun. We will miss that terribly.”

Kay concluded his message with the following statement, “Fare thee well, Chief Burke. I know I speak for the entire City team when I say that I am better as a public servant and better as a person for having known you.”


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