John George Burkle Jr. “was passionate about photography, music, fishing, airplanes, his Lionel trains, gardening, his granddaughters, and dogs,” his family wrote. Family was paramount to him, and his “sentimental values . . . helped shape the paths his children took.”
His youngest son, Justin Burkle, shared his passion for photography and is pursuing it as a career, while his tenure at TWA “exposed his eldest son, Jonathan, to aviation, which led to a career as a commercial airline pilot.”
Mr. Burkle, who was 73, died of heart failure on Feb. 5 at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. He had been living on Woodbine Drive in Springs since 2015.
He was born on July 25, 1949, in Beverly, Mass., while his parents, John George Burkle and the former Claire Widmaier, were on vacation there. He grew up in Park Forest, Ill., and Dix Hills, and graduated from Bowling Green University in Ohio. Mr. Burkle served in the Army from 1972 to 1976.
On May 29, 1976, he married Gail Grimm, and the two settled in Levittown. He worked as a TWA air freight supervisor at Kennedy Airport. The couple lived in Levittown until 2006, then in Cave Creek, Ariz., for nine years.
His wife survives, as do his children, Jonathan Burkle of Denver and Justin Burkle of Montauk, and his grandchildren, Sage and Heidi. He also leaves three siblings, Carol Offutt of Maryland, Jan Peltz of Vermont, and Randee Burkle of Washington State.
Mr. Burkle was cremated. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring.