Celebrating the Life of Coley Burke and Frank Harris
Loggerhead Marinelife Center Celebrates the Life of Two Dedicated Supporters, Coley Burke and Frank Harris
Fleeting and fragile, life is precious.
Although it’s delicate, our lives are powerful when we decide to use it to create change. Our life serves as a message to the world, a declaration of being, and a chance to make an impact. And when we pass from this world, we hope that we will have left a positive or inspiring legacy attached to our name.
It can be rare to meet someone who dedicates their life to serving their community, but here at Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC), we’ve been blessed to be surrounded by individuals committed to improving our planet.
Recently, two of our beloved supporters, Coleman P. Burke (Coley Burke) and Frank W. Harris (Frank Harris) passed away. While they are no longer physically with us, they’ve both left legacies of ocean conservation in their wake. Our community grieves their passing but celebrates their life and commitment to creating a healthier planet for all.
In the spring of 2018, one of our volunteers, Steve Schwartz, welcomed Coley Burke and his wife Susan to our campus for a tour of our Sea Turtle Hospital. Our Director of Research and Rehabilitation, Dr. Charlie Manire, and the hospital staff gave the Burkes an inside look at our state-of-the-art hospital.
As Coley watched a patient being treated, he embraced our mission right away. Thanks to his long involvement with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, he understood the importance of LMC’s work in rehabilitating sea turtles and in keeping our oceans healthy. He loved learning that LMC treats patients and returns them to their natural habitat. He took time to understand and support our scientific innovations to save sea turtles.
Coley and Susan helped fuel our campus expansion and fund the sea turtle hospital. They visited our Center often with visitors in tow.
In recognition of his unwavering support, we named a juvenile green sea turtle patient “Coley” in his honor. During the turtle’s rehabilitation, Coley frequently sent folks to the Center to see the turtle and cheer its progress. He loved hearing that FWC determined that Coley (the turtle) should be released to the ocean not too far from Coley’s (the human’s) Jupiter Island home.
Coley was a strong environmentalist. He served on the Leadership Council of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, launched the Burke Center for Environmental Law at Case Western Reserve University, served as the Director of the National Forest Foundation, a trustee of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and as a board member of the National Audubon Society. He was dedicated to exploring, understanding, and preserving our natural world.
His interest and passion will live on through his legacy. Through a generous gift to our capital campaign from the Coleman and Susan Burke Foundation, we are able to create the Susan and Coleman P. Burke Stage in the Gordon and Patricia Gray Auditorium at our expanded campus. This gift enables us to expand our education outreach and welcome guests to our campus to hear from internationally renowned conservationists.
We will miss seeing Coley arrive at the Center, eager to introduce friends to our work. Our deepest condolences to Susan and the Burke family for their tremendous loss.
A pillar of strength and support in our South Florida community, Frank Harris led a life dedicated to service. After moving to Juno Beach in 1986, Frank became active in local affairs and lent a hand wherever he was needed. In his time, he was Chairman of Sea Oats POA, President of the Juno Beach Civic Association, volunteered at Jupiter Medical Center, and was elected to the Juno Beach Town Council in 1992. Always seeking an opportunity to give back, Frank served as the Mayor of Juno Beach for eight years from 1992-2000. In his position, he created a sense of community for Juno Beach residents.
A longtime LMC volunteer, Frank was also one of the most dedicated LMC Board Members. Most notably, he worked tirelessly to create and manage LMC’s first capital expansion helping LMC become a leading authority in sea turtle rehabilitation and conservation. Thanks to his efforts, we’ve welcomed and inspired millions of guests and students who have visited LMC since opening our facility in 2007. A passionate diplomat, Frank continued to help advance our mission throughout his years of service.
A friend to everyone he met, Frank supported communities and strengthened relationships all over Palm Beach County. He introduced and invited all to learn about the causes he believed in. An advocate of positive change, Frank was a strong believer in using the arts to create powerful storytelling. This helped LMC shape its branding and messaging so that we could reach new audiences and engage new supporters with our sea turtles’ story.
Frank’s legacy reminds us that we can create change within our community by thinking globally and acting locally. At LMC, we will be forever grateful for Frank. He was a cornerstone to our foundation and expansion.
We offer deepest condolences to Frank’s family, his many friends, and especially to his love, Mary. Our team of staff, volunteers, and supporters will continue to remember and celebrate the life, legacy, and impact of Frank Harris.