Rodney Burke was born to Esther (nee Bentz) and Elmer Burke on October 11, 1940 on a farm in Hutchinson County near Scotland, S.D. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. As a young boy he was a Boy Scout and member of the Scotland Saddle Club. He attended and graduated from Scotland High School and on November 3, 1957 he was united in marriage to Joyce Novak. Rodney farmed his entire life south of Scotland and drove truck part-time for Scotland Transfer, Scotland Propane, Midwest Coast in Sioux Falls and as a school bus driver for B.J. Buses. He especially enjoyed driving bus and all his kids on the Tyndall and Scotland routes. Rodney loved the Lord and served on the Church Council of St. Paul’s.
Rodney also enjoyed umpiring baseball and was involved in the South Dakota Umpires Association for 40 years, serving as the Treasurer for 15 years. He umpired SD Amateur baseball for 32 years and was honored to have been selected to umpire numerous State, Legion and Teener tournaments, as well as umpiring for the South-Central League and several college teams. Rodney was inducted into the South Dakota Umpires Hall of Fame in 1994 and was appointed to the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame Board in 2007. He was a lifelong Dodger fan.
In late 2015, Rodney and Joyce started their move from the farm to city life in Harrisburg to be nearer to family. Rodney enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and making new ones in their new home.
Left to cherish Rodney’s memory are his wife of 61 years, Joyce; children Beverly (Brad) Koopman of Baltic, SD; son Douglas (Special Friend Lucille Sanchez) of Las Vegas, NV; Julie (Greg) Van Luvanee of Harrisburg, SD; Son-in-law Bill Bowen of Harrisburg, SD; Grandchildren Jenn (Ben) Powers, Edina MN; Chris (Brianna) Koopman, Minnetonka, MN; and Hailee Bowen of Harrisburg, SD. Rodney was also blessed with 3 great grandchildren, Jacob, Sawyer and Brooks Powers. He treasured his grandchildren and great grandchildren and all the joy they brought him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Mother-in-law Signe Novak and Father-in-law Milo Novak, and Sister-in-law Shirley Bauder.