On Saturday, August 27 during the Montauk Downs Club Championship Tournament, PGA Professional Kevin Smith presented Ms. Helenlouise Burke a beautiful plaque which read: “STARTER EMERITUS MS. FANTASTIC – Ms. Helenlouise Burke” for 21 years of loyal service as a starter, at the famous, Robert Trent Jones-designed, Montauk Downs State Park Golf Course.
I first met Ms. Burke at Montauk Downs, voted by Links Magazine in 2013 as one of the top ten best municipal golf course, when my husband and I picked up the sport ten years ago. We got to know her better when we sat next to her at the Montauk Senior Nutrition Center during lunch, on her days off, when we accompanied my then 97-year old Mom. Each Fall, Ms. Burke flew down south to her Boynton Beach, Florida home and returned to Montauk in the Spring to get back to work, to the job she loved.
I recently spoke to Mr. Smith, owner of the Tee To Green Golf Pro Shop who said: “Things are just not the same without Helen.”
Congratulations Ms. Burke! May you enjoy the new chapter in your life. Montauk will miss your smile and witty remarks. The golfers will miss you too, especially your staunch and your no-nonsense-attitude.” Please keep knitting those cute butterfly-shaped magnets that you generously give to your relatives and friends including my godchild Elena who fondly remembers the dozen butterflies you made for her as give-aways for her 4th birthday celebration at the Downs’ swimming pool.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 6, 1931, Ms. Burke attended Boston University and came to Montauk in the late 40’s and 50’s. She worked for 31 years at Maidstone Lane and “retired” at Montauk Downs in 1994 until this year. She was married to James (Buddy) Burke of Montauk and have three children, Alan, Elise and Jay. All love Montauk as much as their mother and are residents and active citizens of the hamlet.