James F. Burke, 73, kidney-disease specialist

James F. Burke Jr.
James F. Burke Jr.
Posted: March 16, 2014

James F. Burke Jr., 73, of Jenkintown, former director of nephrology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, died Monday, March 10, of pneumonia at St. Joseph Villa, Flourtown.

Dr. Burke's career spanned 40 years at the hospital, where he was considered one of the region's top nephrologists for kidney treatment. He was honored in 2011 as the Beatrice F. Nicoletti professor of nephrology by the Philadelphia institution.

He was born in Philadelphia at Jefferson and raised in Drexel Hill. He graduated from Monsignor Bonner High School in 1958 and St. Joseph's University in 1962 with a bachelor of science degree in biology.

He earned his medical degree at Jefferson before joining the Navy in 1967 as a lieutenant, medical corps. He worked as a doctor during the Vietnam War at a military base outside Albany, Ga., until 1969.

Dr. Burke returned to Jefferson for his internal-medicine residency and nephrology fellowship.

Dedicated to research on kidney diseases, he wrote and cowrote 98 papers. He is credited with helping set critical medication standards for kidney transplants that have helped patients worldwide.

He started at Jefferson as an instructor in medicine in 1972, became director of dialysis and transplant services by 1982, and was director, division of nephrology, from 1992 until 2006.

Dr. Burke also mentored dozens of Jefferson medical fellows. He retired from Jefferson in 2011.

He loved telling jokes and laughing at them, said his wife, the former Diane Barrow.

Surviving, besides his wife of 48 years, are daughters Laura Lloyd and Jennifer Purtell; sons Dylan and James; two brothers; five sisters; seven grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.

A visitation at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, March 15, at Immaculate Conception Church, 602 West Ave., Jenkintown, will be followed by a Funeral Mass at 11 a.m. Interment is private.

Donations may be made to St. Joseph Villa, 110 W. Wissahickon Ave., Flourtown, Pa. 19031.



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