In Tribute

A member of our community and strong supporter of the Humanist Chaplaincy has recently died. Dr. Donald Burke was among other things a physician who spent decades specializing in Emergency Medicine. He attended and very much enjoyed our 30th Anniversary Conference last month and became fatally ill soon thereafter. Don Burke pdf.jpg Here (click on the thumbnail) is an article from the 1970’s about Dr. Burke from his days as a principled objector to the Vietnam War, and a photo of him at our Darwin Day celebration from this past February, with Humanist Graduate Community President Peter Blake in the Gorilla Suit. IMG_0527.jpgDon, ever passionate about animals and the importance of Darwininan thought, loved this photo.

Meanwhile Clark Adams, a prominent and much beloved young Humanist leader, strongly involved with the Secular Student Alliance among other things, has also recently died. Many of you may have met Clark at our recent conference. Our friend Hemant Mehta has a beautiful tribute and thoughts on Clark’s sad and untimely death at his blog,

You might be interested to know, for example, that in Scotland last year 44% of all funeral services were performed by Humanist officiants like myself. And in fact I will be using some of the British Humanist Association‘s beautiful memorial materials in preparing Don’s service.

This would seem a good time to remind you that, should you as a member of the Harvard or surrounding community ever need Humanist or non-religious services for a funeral, wedding, baby-naming, or other such special occasion, I am happy to perform these or help refer you to someone else who can, or to materials that will help you in creating and leading your own ceremony.

All the best and may the beginning of this summer be a time for reflection and renewal.

1 Comment

  1. tomhill

    July 12, 2011 @ 6:58 am


    What a truly nice tribute to a passionate individual…

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