Robert Stuart Burk, Sr.

Published in The Washington Post on May 31, 2020.


Passed away peacefully at his home in Chevy
Chase, MD, on May 26, 2020. Beloved husband of
the late Miriam Pickett Burk; devoted father of
Sandra Wilson Burk, Elaine Burk Zarnich (Robert
Zarnich) and Robert Stuart Burk, Jr. (Kellie Anderson)
and cherished grandfather of Hannah Zarnich,
Genevieve Zarnich, Cecelia Burk and Robert Burk

Mr. Burk was a proud native of Washington, D.C.

His great-grandfather emigrated to the city from Germany in the 1860s, defended it
with the Union Army during the Civil War, and established Burk's Bakery on 5th Street
NW in the 1880s.

Mr. Burk graduated from
Coolidge High School in 1947, and received a BA in
Economics from Duke University in 1951 and an LLB from Georgetown University
School of Law in 1956.

He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and helped establish the 10th
Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Mr. Burk had a long and distinguished legal career in private and government
practice, serving as a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and ultimately
as General Counsel for the Interstate Commerce Commission for multiple
administrations. He was nominated twice for the Tom C. Clark Award for most
outstanding federal government attorney, and received a special award from
Georgetown University Law Center for outstanding legal career in public service. Mr.
Burk was an early and successful force in civil rights, helping to end discrimination in
transportation. He also dedicated himself to recruiting female and black attorneys
throughout his career.

Outside of work, Mr. Burk was passionate about the wonders and beauty of nature,
and an avid photographer. He enjoyed exploring Europe, the Florida Keys and the
American West, hiking the Appalachian Trail and especially surf fishing along North
Carolina's Outer Banks. But above all, he loved opening his home, his heart and his
wonderful sense of humor to friends and neighbors, and spending as much time as
possible with his family, his greatest source of joy.

A memorial service to celebrate his life will be scheduled at a later date.

Donations may be made in his memory to the hospice organization Capital Caring
Health Philanthropy via

Please view and sign the family guest book at: