Bruce Takeshi Burk, 53, died at his home in Lolo, Montana on January 28th, due to complications from lifelong muscular dystrophy. He had lived in Lolo for the past 30 years, where he founded and served as editor-publisher of a community newspaper, The Lolo Peak News.
Bruce was born in Kalispell on April 7, 1960, and grew up there, where he graduated from Flathead County High School in 1978. He had attended junior high school at Stevensville. He graduated from the University of Montana in 1985 with a degree in Radio and Television with a minor in International Studies. He subsequently earned a Master of Science in Education Counseling from Portland State University in 1993. He then returned to Montana and his cherished home in Lolo, where he continued to write and established The Lolo Peak News. Over the years he continued to attend the University of Montana in pursuit of a doctoral degree.
Early in life when he learned that he had muscular dystrophy, Bruce confronted his disease head on with an attitude that he would overcome it to accomplish the many things he wanted to do and enjoy the things in life and people that he loved. In doing so, he took on not just a can do attitude, but a will do commitment, through which he became an inspiration to many.
His hobbies included photography and music. He was a guitar player and song writer and during his college years he played in coffeehouse performances at the University of Montana. He enjoyed the outdoors, especially the grandeur of Montana, and in his younger years enjoyed both hunting and fishing. He even went skiing a couple of times and loved to explore the open country and backwoods.
He was politically active throughout his adult life and helped with the writing and passage of the American Disabilities Act that was passed in 1990. He also helped get legislation enacted on behalf of disabled hunters and sketched and helped develop one of the first wheelchair gun mounts for disabled hunters.
He is survived by a son, James Burk of Butte; his mother, Katie DuPuy of Kalispell; his father and stepmother, Dale and Patricia Burk of Stevensville; three sisters, Kathleen Burk of Las Vegas, Nevada, Ruth Burk of Federal Way, Washington, Rachel Burk of Stevensville; maternal grandfather, Charles Glass of Clinton; and his first wife, Beth Burk of Butte.
Bruce was preceded in death by a brother, Ted R. Burk; his second wife, Mary; paternal grandparents, Ted and Louise Burk; maternal grandparents Takeshi and Motoka Kondoh; and maternal grandmother, Doris Glass.
Arrangements are being handled by Garden City Funeral Home of Missoula. Viewing was Monday, February 3 at the Garden City Funeral Home, 1705 W. Broadway, Missoula, MT.
A memorial service and celebration of Bruce’s life was held on Tuesday, February 4, at the Kings Christian Church one mile north of Lolo, on the west side of Hwy 93, with the Rev. Billy Donaldson officiating. The memorial services were followed by a reception and luncheon courtesy of the Ladies of Kings Christian Church, which was Bruce’s home church.
Honorary pallbearers are John Glass, Ron Anderson, Bob Glass, Don Glass, Brent Roose, Dawain Burgess and Chris Hoff.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Bruce’s memory.