William "Dean" Burk, 87, entered the gates of heaven on November 12, 2022, at home surrounded by his family after battling Parkinson's disease for more than 20 years.
Dean was born on May 30, 1935 to Ernest Madison "Jack" Burk and Ida Mae Ingram Burk of Frederick, Oklahoma. Raised by a hard-working family of modest means, he began working at the age of 13 in the local grocery store, as a field hand for harvest and threw newspapers. Dean made a profession of faith as a young boy, and thanks to the generosity of a church deacon who paid his way, surrendered his life to full-time ministry while attending church camp at Falls Creek Baptist Encampment at age 16. From that day, he took every opportunity he could find to speak or preach - Dean was passionate about Jesus.
He graduated from Frederick High school in 1953 and enrolled that fall in Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) where he completed a History degree in 1957. He was the first person in his family to attend college and was active in many campus organizations serving as president, vice-president and chairman. After graduating from OBU, he attended Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. In 1977, he completed his Doctorate of Ministry by correspondence through Luther Rice Seminary in Jacksonville, FL.
Dean met the love of his life, Mary Anne Allen during his time at seminary. Following a brief courtship and engagement, they were married in June 1960 and welcomed their first child, daughter Carolyn, shortly after Dean received his Divinity degree. Two years later they welcomed their second child, son Steve.
During Dean's college and seminary years, he was interim pastor at Trinity Baptist Church in Frederick, OK (3 months) and pastored Tesca Baptist Church in Fredrick, OK (1954 - 1956) and First Baptist Church, Devol, OK (1957 - 1961). Each weekend he drove 360 miles round trip from school to his church and back to school to preach. After receiving his Divinity degree from seminary, Dean continued to his ministry in Devol.
In May 1961, he was called as associate pastor to First Baptist Church, Cisco, TX where he led the music and worked with youth and children.
In August 1962, they moved to Denton, TX to pastor Highland Baptist Church, a church adjacent to the local university with a vibrant student ministry. During his time at Highland, Dean spent 6 weeks in Africa on a preaching tour with other pastors in support of Southern Baptist missionaries. While out of the country, he sent daily postcards to his children who were 3 and 5 at the time.
In April 1968, the Burks moved again so that Dean could pastor Morgan Avenue Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, TX. During his tenure, he helped establish a bus ministry in the neighborhoods around the church allowing many children and families to attend church.
In August 1973, he became pastor of Spring Woods Baptist Church in Houston, TX. The very young church grew and added many families. While continuing to reach the community, Dean helped the church retire their debt and led a successful building campaign which resulted in the addition of a 2-story multipurpose building.
In July 1985, Dean was called as pastor of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Littleton, CO. Due to challenges facing Christianity in the Denver area, the pulpit committee specifically sought a pastor who preached the Bible and strongly supported local, national and international missions. Highlights of his pastorate included early retirement of the church debt (saving more than $100,000 in interest), establishing a Chinese mission congregation and equipping the church for personal evangelism.
Dean loved his Savior with all his heart and always prioritized preaching the Bible with clarity, leading people to a saving knowledge of Christ and supporting local and global missions. As pastor of each of his churches, he was the beloved shepherd, while at the same time he was one of the "flock." He attended youth camps, played on church softball teams, sang in musicals, presented monologues in character for Christmas services, whistled like a songbird during congregational singing, entered the New Year's Eve cooking contest, and dressed in costume for various church events and fundraisers.
He was an avid Oklahoma Sooner football fan and proudly wore crimson and cream. He loved all desserts, but his favorite was ice cream. He often ate it after lunch and dinner and again while watching the 10 o'clock news, but it never seemed to show on his slender frame. Church social events and family events always included ice cream! He loved watching football and all the westerns especially Gunsmoke. Other programs, such as Hogan's Heroes, The Andy Griffeth Show and Gomer Pyle, made him laugh. He was competitive but always a gracious winner (unless maybe it was OU vs Texas football!). He was a loyal friend who stayed connected to friends from childhood, college, seminary, and each of the churches he pastored. Dean consistently modeled a lifestyle of "practicing what you preach". He demonstrated honesty; he never complained even when life got tough; he was grateful; he worked hard; and he had a great sense of humor.
In 2000, Dean retired from full-time ministry. In 2012, he and Mary Anne made the difficult decision to leave the home they loved in their adopted state of Colorado and move closer to family. Although health issues began to limit him, he enjoyed time with his Texas family. He attended the weddings of his 5 oldest grandkids, met each of his 9 great-grandkids and was able to attend numerous ballgames, graduations, birthday parties and holiday celebrations.
Dean was deeply loved and, in addition to Mary Anne, Dean is survived by his daughter. Carolyn McLaughlin and husband, Scott, of Sunnyvale, TX;, son, Steve Burk and wife, Janice, of Cornelius, NC; and his grandchildren: Russell McLaughlin and wife, Katie, Matthew McLaughlin and wife, Sara, Trey McLaughlin, Derek McLaughlin and wife, Michelle; Jenna McLaughlin Henley and husband, Ryan; Cassie Burk; Zachary Burk; and Andrew Burk. He was a proud great-grandpa to 6 great-grandsons and 3 great-granddaughters: Camden, Callum, Carter, Claire, Landry, Davis, Whitley, Liam and Tucker McLaughlin. He is also survived by his brother Jimmy Burk of Marlow, OK, and his sister Mary Burk Anderson of Snyder, OK, along with several nieces and nephews.
Dean is fondly remembered by a host of loving friends he made over the years he spent serving and pastoring. He was reunited with family members as well as with those who are home with Jesus because he answered God's call and shared the gospel. What a joy to know that as he entered heaven Dean no doubt heard "Well done, thy good and faithful servant!"
A celebration of Dean's life will be held at Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church, 9810 La Prada Drive, Dallas, TX on Monday, December 5, 2022 at 1:00pm. Immediately following the service, burial will be at New Hope - Garden of Honor. Visitation and viewing will be Sunday, December 4, 2022 at New Hope Funeral Home, 500 East Hwy 80, Sunnyvale, TX.
Memorial donations may be made to Shiloh Terrace Baptist Church in memory of Dean Burk for either of the following designations in order to continue spreading the gospel: Lottie Moon Offering for Foreign Missions or Houser Mission Offering.