AKWESASNE – Barney J. Rourke, 94, of St. Regis Road, peacefully passed away Friday afternoon, June 14, 2019 at IAK HIH SOH THA Lodge with his loving family at his side.
Barney was born September 4, 1924 on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation, the son of the late Frank and Marion (Loft) Rourke. He attended schools on the reservation and on June 20, 2009, he was awarded this honorary diploma through Operation Education and Salmon River Central School. On December 4, 1943, he entered the United States Marine Corps, proudly serving his country during World War II in the Okinawa Theatre. He was honorably discharged from service on April 5, 1946. Barney was the last Marine Corps World War II Veteran from Akwesasne. On June 12, 1948, he married Viola E. Cook at the St. Regis Catholic Church with Rev. Joseph Bourget, officiating. They renewed their vows on their 65th wedding anniversary with family and friends present and Father Jerome Pastores, officiating. Viola predeceased him on July 15, 2014.
Barney was a lifelong ironworker with Local #440, working throughout the Northeast and Canada. As a proud veteran he was a life member of the Andrew W. Cook American Legion Post #1479, where he was a Past Commander, Life Member of the Marine Corps League and the VFW Post #1143. Barney was also a devout and lifelong communicant of the St. Regis Catholic Church and Honorary Life Member of the Father Michael Jacobs Knights of Columbus Council #10423. He has a great love and passion for golf and was a member of various leagues including the Monday Morning League and the Cedar Golf Course traveling league. He was also a NY Yankees and NY Rangers fan and was the manager of the American Legion Baseball Team for many years. Barney loved to mow his lawn, tinkering and fixing things, visiting with his many friends, watching television, and would be seen riding around his community on his golf cart.
Barney is survived by his children, Cynthia Sawatis, Larry and Tassie Rourke, Marsha White, Sandra Rourke, Steven “Judgie” and Shelley Rourke, and Eileen Rourke and John McComber, a daughter-in-law, Veronica “Binky” Rourke, all of Akwesasne. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Evie Lynn Campbell, David and Christopher Sawatis, Ryan and Lauren White, Cami Campeau, Natasha Thompson Barnes, Nathan and Narissa Thompson, Margaret Rourke-Bay, Arif, Marc, Michael, Brett, Stacey, and Louis Rourke, Bucky Cook, Joanna Balcom, Sharlann, Blake, and Cara Mae Diabo; 29 great grandchildren; 3 great-great grandchildren; his sister-in-law, Carole Sharlow of North Lawrence; his godson, Nathan Thompson; many nieces, nephews, and cousins; and his beloved dog, Coco.
In addition his parents and his wife, he was predeceased by a daughter, Evelyn M. Rourke on July 3, 2004; a son, Hubert Rourke on January 3, 2016; two granddaughters, Leslee Ann Rourke and Memphis Rain Carle; and his brothers, Andrew Rourke on May 30, 2002 and Joseph F. Rourke on October 13, 2008.
Friends may call at the home of his nephew, Marshall and Janine Rourke, 89 Rourke Road, starting at 3:00 PM Monday until 9:00 AM Wednesday. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Wednesday, 10:00 AM at St. Regis Catholic Church with Rev. Jerome Pastores, celebrating. Burial with full military honors will follow the services in Rourke Family Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, those wishing may consider donations to the St. Regis Catholic Church Building Fund.