LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Frank Welsh Burke Sr., a former congressman, state representative and Louisville mayor, has died. He was 87.
Pearson’s Funeral Home confirmed yesterday that Mr. Burke died June 29.
Mr. Burke was remembered as a public servant who pushed to integrate city government and supported labor unions. He started in Louisville city government working in the law department and eventually became the city’s safety director. A Democrat, he later ran successfully for a seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
In 1958, Mr. Burke defeated incumbent U.S. Rep. John M. Robsion Jr., a Republican, for a seat in Congress. He won a second term in 1960 by 221 votes but lost two years later to M.G. “Gene” Snyder.
In 1969, Mr. Burke ran for Louisville mayor and served for four years.
“He treated everybody with respect,” said Deputy Mayor William Summers IV, who was an aide after Mr. Burke’s election in 1969.
Mr. Burke appointed black candidates to high-level positions when blacks had been hired in lower-level jobs, Mr. Summers said.
Mr. Burke “cared about the plight of everyday people,” said Danny Briscoe, another former aide.
He attended the University of Southern California and received a degree from Xavier University in 1942 and a law degree from the University of Louisville in 1948.
He began practicing law in Louisville in 1948, after he served in the Army during World War II.
Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson said Mr. Burke, a Roman Catholic, helped people through charities and his church. Mr. Abramson called Mr. Burke “as kind, caring, as generous and as positive of a person I’ve ever met.”
Mr. Burke was a lawyer and worked for the law firm of Wyatt Tarrant & Combs until he stopped practicing in 2005, his friend Henri Mangeot said.