James G. “JB “ Burke, age 71 of rural Darlington, passed away unexpectedly Friday, June 23, 2017 in Savanna, Ill. He was born April 17, 1946 in Darlington the son of Roy and Bertha (Ischi) Burke. JB graduated from Darlington High School in 1964. He lived in Darlington his entire life. JB helped his parents with their dry-cleaning business before working for Ed Hessling at Standard Oil Station in Darlington and later as a mechanic for Clayton Ostby at Ostby Motors. He also worked as an electrician for Harley Miller and Al Brecklin and for the past many years has been a freelance carpenter for a number of builders in the Darlington and Mineral Point areas.
JB is survived by a very close second cousin, who he referred to as his ”nephew”: Jon (Lisa) Ischi of Albany and their children Audrey and Joe Ischi; Jon’s mother: Barbara Ischi of Evansville; Jon’s sister Jennifer (Jason) Heisz of Footville and their children: Megan and Dillan Heisz and many cousins and friends in the racing community and beyond. He was preceded in death by his father in 1965, his mother in 2005, a cousin: Joseph Ischi 2000 and Joseph and Barb’s daughter: Sara Ischi 1990.
JB currently served as President of the Darlington Industrial Investors Corporation and played an important role in Darlington’s economic development. He was also a past city alderman, spent many years on the Darlington Fire Department, and was a past member of the Darlington Jaycees. JB had a passion for stock car racing, so much so that he hadn’t missed a Daytona 500 in over 50 years. He was also involved in Darlington’s stock car races in the 1960s and 1970s. JB was a man that was always willing to help anyone in need and we couldn’t count all the people he has helped over the years. He will be sadly missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.
The family asks that you wear your favorite racing attire to the Celebration of Life that will be held during one of JB’s favorite races the Bristol night race starting at 4 p.m. at Virtue Motors in Darlington (12075 State Road 23) on Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017. The Erickson Funeral Home in Darlington is serving the family. Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.ericksonfuneralhome.com.
For those who prefer, a memorial fund has been established in JB’s name.