USAO News Bureau

BURK, James M.

Monday, June 4, 2012

 

James Burk, 1931-2012 James Mack Burk, 80, of Columbia died Monday, June 4, 2012. He was a 45-year resident of Columbia. Burk Visitation will be from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, June 8, at Parker Funeral Service in Columbia.

A funeral will be held at 1 p.m. at the funeral home. Interment will follow the service at the Columbia Cemetery. James was born July 1, 1931, to John Dee Burk and Marie Kyle Burk in Muskogee, Okla.

He attended public school in Muskogee, graduating from Central High School with the Class of 1949. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, he was the secretary and president of the university's chapter of Phi Mu Alpha-Sinfonia, a professional music fraternity, and vice president and president of Blue Key, a national leadership organization.

He wrote a pledge manual for Sinfonia that was adopted by the national fraternity and has been used since 1953. He later served in regional offices of the fraternity. He served in U.S. Army bands at Fort Chaffee, Ark., and Fort Sill, Okla., before going overseas.

He was in the 60th Army Band in the Panama Canal Zone and also served an assistant bandleader. He married Bobbie Jean McBride on June 12, 1954. They were married for 52 years. She preceded him in death.

Their son, James Jeffery, was born in 1956 at the Coco Solo Hospital in Crist-bal, Canal Zone. He earned two master's degrees and a doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.

He also did graduate studies at Indiana University. James was band director at Classen Junior-Senior High School in Oklahoma City for six years. His bands earned honors at festivals and contests, including the Downbeat Award for Outstanding Stage Band at the Tri-State Music Festival in 1958.

He also conducted several musicals at Classen, including "Kiss Me, Kate," "Annie Get Your Gun," "Where's Charley?," "Mr. Wonderful" and "The Pajama Game."

He taught at Oklahoma College for Women, Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts and Oklahoma City University. He joined the faculty at the University of Missouri in 1967 and taught music theory, focusing on harmony, counterpoint, acoustics and orchestration, as well as other undergraduate and graduate courses.

He retired in 1996 after 30 years at MU. He was president of the MU chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society for 24 years and initiated the Honors Convocation for the Department of Music, which has become a special annual event.

He was a Friend of the Arts, a type of honorary membership, of Sigma Alpha Iota, an international music fraternity. James attended and presented papers at regional and national meetings of professional organizations.

He was a contributor to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, The American Biographical Dictionary and other professional publications.

He compiled and edited A Charles Ives Omnibus (Pendragon Press, 2008), a large listing of research and reference materials regarding the great American composer. James was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Fulton, where he also was an elder. His wife, Bobbie, was the choir director from 1976 to 2004. James performed many flute accompaniments to the choir, as well as solos.

He is survived by his son, James Jeffery Burk of Aurora, Ill., and his sister, Barbara Burk Ferguson of Owasso, Okla. Memorials may be sent to the Dulaney-Browne Library at Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, Okla., 73106;

Attention: the James Mack Burk Collection.