On Saturday, May 1, 2021, Heaven gained an incredible angel, a man who lived and loved by example for all of his 81 years.
Edward E. Bourke of Campbell Hall epitomized an extreme devotion to family, work ethic, investment in community and love of country. His goodness is equal in measure to his wife Angela.
He served four years in the United States Navy, was a volunteer EMT and founding member firefighter for more than 40 years and twice Fire Chief of South Blooming Grove Independence Fire Company.
For many years, Ed worked two-three jobs to provide for his family, in addition to the countless hours he spent volunteering his time and energy to others.
His five daughters and sons-in-law gave him 17 grandchildren and, at current count, four great-grandchildren. His greatest joy in life came from simply being with “the children,” both young and old, teaching them about life, being a great example of how to love and how to be a good person.
Ed was born Dec. 3, 1939. He was the fifth child born to Patrick and Bridget Bourke, who later went on to have two more children, giving Ed six siblings to grow up with in the Bronx in a two-bedroom apartment on Archer Street.
When he married the love of his life, they moved around a bit and settled in Worley Heights, where they raised their five daughters with many other families also from the Bronx, who became part of their extended family. That is where Ed became a founding member of the SBG Independence Fire Company, further growing his extended family.
Ed never missed a chance to help his fellow human being. His last job was as a Facilities Building Manager in Jersey City, where he was present on 9/11 and was instrumental in setting up the first make-shift triage center for victims being ferried over from Ground Zero.
Ed always put others ahead of himself, as he clearly had his priorities in order from an early age when he served in the United States Navy.
On May 20, 2021, Ed and Angie would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, yet he referred to Angie as “his bride” right up to his last day. Together they have been a beautiful and solid example for their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of what true love looks like.
Ed leaves his family with some simple, yet profound, advice which he shared with them always. Every discussion about anything difficult the girls were going through always ended with: “Chin up, dear. This is just a bump in the road.”
Ed is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Angela (Critelli) Bourke; his daughters and sons-in-law: Annmarie and Larry Martello, Debbie and Mike Martini, Pattiann and Scott Randazzo, Christine Nimmo, and Mary Beth and Paul Stegenga; his 17 grandchildren that he adored so much: Deanna and Michael Pezze, Stephanie and Bobby Tansey, Angela Martini, Lauren Martello and Chaynce Pelio, Christina Martini, Rebecca Randazzo, Trevor Nimmo, Nicholas Martini, Madison Martello, Matthew Nimmo, Ashley Randazzo, Jessica Nimmo, Vincent Martello, Ryan Randazzo, Emma Stegenga, Cassie Nimmo and Danny Stegenga. Ed was blessed with four precious great-grandchildren: Isla Rose Pezze, Cayden James Tansey, Blake Charolette Tansey and Declan James Pezze. He is also survived by his sister Anne Meehan; his brother and sister-in-law Tommy Joe and Ann Bourke; brothers-in-law and their wives: Anthony and Doris Critelli, Vinny and Linda Critelli, and Joe and Fran Critelli; along with many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Ed was predeceased by his parents, Patrick and Bridget (Lyons) Bourke; his siblings John Bourke, Patrick Bourke, Beatrice Bourke, and Kathleen Gombar. Ed was also predeceased by his son-in-law, Brian Nimmo, and his first-born granddaughter, Katelyn Martello.
One final note: within a minute of his accident in Florida, Ed was tended to at the scene by a fellow firefighter, which the family knows gave Ed peace and comfort knowing that he was in the good hands of a fellow “brother.” This Good Samaritan recognized Ed as a firefighter by his necklace and let him know, “I got you, Chief,” which Ed clearly acknowledged and responded by squeezing his hand.
Until we meet again, Eddie, “Up Tipp” and may you rest in eternal peace.
Visitation was held May 10 at Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush, Inc. Funeral Home, 117 Maple Ave., Monroe.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated May 11 at St. Mary’s Church, 42 Goshen Ave., Washingtonville.
Interment followed in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8516.
Arrangements by Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush, Inc. Funeral Homes, Monroe (845 782-8185 or www.ssqfuneralhome.com).