Andrew C. Bourke, Sr., 95, member of “Greatest Generation”
Andrew C. Bourke of Somerville, NJ passed away peacefully at Morris View Health Center in Morris Plains, NJ, on May 11. He was 95.
“Andy” was born on August 2, 1924 and grew up in Somerville, where as a boy he was an altar server at Immaculate Conception Church, was active in the Boy Scouts, participated in the school music program as a drummer, and was a high school cheerleader. After graduating from Somerville High School at age 16 in 1941, he had a brief career at the Ruberoid Company in South Bound Brook before joining the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943. In his first assignment running errands to New York, he would sometimes spend his lunch allowance to see big bands such as the Glenn Miller Orchestra at the Paramount Theatre.
During World War II, he served in the First Air Force as a crew chief on Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter planes. After completing training, he was stationed at combat crew training stations at Bradley Field in Windsor Locks, CT and Mitchell Field in Uniondale, NY. After the war, he returned to Somerville and joined the Somerville Fire Department, where he served as a volunteer firefighter at West End Hose Company No. 3. He later attended Rider College in Trenton, NJ, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education in 1950.