• 61°

Salisbury’s piano man, Billy Burke, dies at 95

SALISBURY — Salisbury’s most famous musician and one of its greatest ambassadors, Billy Burke, died Wednesday night at the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks.
He was 95. Generations of Salisburians knew him as the city’s Music Man or, in other circles, as “Mr. Bridge.”
Burke always seemed to be in a corner, playing bright, cheery tunes on the piano, whether he was at Rotary, First Methodist Church, the Holiday Inn, community fundraisers, weddings, reunions or other parties.
His musical talents were vast and well-recognized in his day. He composed the songs for “Huck Finn,” a musical comedy presented by Catawba College’s Blue Masque first in 1955, again in 1958 and once more last year.
In 1957, the N.C. Symphony performed an orchestrated medley of five of Burke’s songs, arranged by Thomas Cousins — one of the proudest moments of Burke’s long life.
The musical found playing time in various other regional productions and in summer stock theater in New York. The Salisbury Symphony performed Burke’s “Huck Finn” songs on several occasions, including the symphony’s 25th anniversary.
Beyond his love for music and the theater, Burke was a Life Master bridge player, who up until last year had written a bridge column for the Salisbury Post since 1969.
Burke’s work experience included long stints as personnel and human resources manager for N.C. Finishing Co. and Zimmerman’s Department Store.
“He loved people, and he enjoyed friends as much as anybody I ever met,” longtime friend Leon Zimmerman said today. “Everything he was involved with was important to him and he gave 100 percent. He never held back on anything.”
Read more on Billy Burke in Friday’s edition of the Post.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

Comments

Comments closed.

Nation/World

Pared-down infrastructure bill’s price tag: $1.2 trillion

Business

More than 40 employers slated to attend West End Plaza job fair

News

Annual state farm bill nears final approval by lawmakers

News

After Senate rejection, Cooper picks new environment leader

East Spencer

East Spencer adopts $5.46 million budget with no tax hike; federal funding will help improve water system

Education

RSS ranks fourth in state for career, technical credential attainment, beating Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

Nation/World

Death toll likely to rise after collapse of Florida condo

Davie

Three Rivers Land Trust conserves 250 acres of land in Davie County

Coronavirus

Biden makes stop in Raleigh for vaccination event

Business

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College unveils tenants, training partners at Advanced Technology Center

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with drug, assault crimes

Local

City of Salisbury to resume normal operations, return to in-person council meetings

Local

Dreams of flight become reality at ASCEND summer camp

Local

Base salary for SPD officers increases to nearly $42,000 next week

News

‘He loved people:’ Larry Ford leaves behind legacy of legal achievement, community service

Local

Statewide pickleball tournament at Catawba College in September expected to draw hundreds of visitors

Local

Resources still available for those dealing with lingering impacts of pandemic

Education

Shoutouts: Misenheimer completes master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College

Education

State expands Principal of the Year to charter schools

High School

All-county baseball team: Norris Award winner Honeycutt made the most of a dozen games

Education

Partners in learning raises $3.2 million for new facility

Education

Tar Heel Boys State creates miniature government at Catawba College

News

NC medical marijuana legalization gets hearing in Senate

News

N. Carolina bill ending extra $300 benefits heads to Cooper