A tribute to my friend John Burk, who passed away in October 2009

John Burk

John Burk


Hey John,

My father called me and told me you passed away.

What the hell? You were only forty-eight years old. Forty-eight is way too young to die. And how is it you were forty-eight anyway? My God, we were teenagers just yesterday.

I haven’t seen much of you these last few years and I’m sorry about that. There was a time when we were good friends. We went to High School together, played in the Jazz Band together, and got our first start in professional radio together on the same 250 watt daytimer. And then I moved away and it got hard to stay in touch and now I realize too late what a shame that was.

Lots of memories, though. Like the time you hit me in the head with your trombone when we were playing a concert. You probably don’t remember but I kind of lost my temper because it was the second or third time you hit me in the head. I’m sorry I lost my temper; it’s pretty funny looking back at it now.

And then the time you asked me to work for you after I’d spent the entire day in the hot blazing sun sanding the hull of some rich guy’s sailboat. I really wasn’t up to it but you talked me into it. I was so muddle-headed that night I accidentally swore on air and got suspended for two weeks. Also pretty funny thinking back on it. Thanks a lot for that one.

Another night I was finishing my show and I accidentally identified myself on air as you. “You’re listening to CJRW radio, I’m John Burk,” I said. I have absolutely no idea why I did that, but again, it was pretty darned funny.

You were the disc jockey at my wedding. Thank you for that, sir. And a long standing DJ on CJRW. Probably one of the last men standing on CJRW, long after the first building burned down and the owners were so scarred by the experience that they turned the station country and made it almost fully automated. I remember visiting you in that sad excuse for radio thinking that you were just like Venus Flytrap on that episode of WKRP. But you survived.

You were a good guy, Mr. Burk. I don’t remember you uttering one single word of malice toward anyone, ever. My mother told me how well you looked after your mother when she was ill, visiting her every single day for hours at a time. I sure hope someone did the same for you this last little while ’cause you deserved the same consideration you showed your mother.

If there’s a heaven or the rough equivalent of one I know that you’re in it, John.

Where ever you are, even though it’s gotta be a long ways away, I can still hear your voice as clear as day.