Thomas Burke McKinney

Thomas Burke McKinney, 69 of Cashiers, North Carolina passed away Jan. 31.

Born May 17, 1947 in Birmingham, AL, he was the son of the late Thomas L. and Jeannette A. McKinney.

Burke spent his formative years in Augusta, Georgia, where he attended Richmond Academy, worked for his father at Augusta Coca-Cola Bottling Co., played lots of golf and loved working at the Augusta National Golf Club in the spring, serving Cokes and pimento cheese sandwiches to the patrons.

After graduation from the University of Georgia, Burke served in the US Army for five years, including two tours in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.  Upon returning to Georgia, he met and married Cary Davis of Atlanta, and began a 37-year career with The Coca-Cola Company.    Cary and Burke lived in Dallas, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Orlando and Atlanta with Coke USA, then moved to Asia for 15 years, living and working in Hong Kong, Sydney, Tokyo, Manila and Singapore, where Burke was President of Bottling Operations, covering six countries.  Returning to America, Burke retired from Coca-Cola in 2000 as Senior Vice President of Coca-Cola Asia Pacific. He was President of the Coca-Cola Company Alumni Association after retirement.

In 2003, Cary and Burke moved to Cashiers, North Carolina, where Burke enjoyed golfing at the Country Club of Sapphire Valley, hunting in south Georgia, making gourmet dinners for his friends and collecting fine bourbons and champagnes. He was involved with Blue Ridge Free Dental Clinic, Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation, Summit Charter School, and Highlands-Cashiers Humane Society.

Burke was a member of the American Clubs in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore, the Murasaki, Manila and Raffles Golf Clubs. In America, he was a member of the Capital City Club, the Country Club of Sapphire Valley, Gridiron Secret Society, Knights of Malta, St. Andrew’s Society, the Order of the Dog Soldiers (Warrior), the Peachtree Racket Club, the Clan of the Spoon and la Societe ROMEO.

Burke was pre-deceased by his parents, Thomas and Jeannette McKinney, and his sister Polly M. Clark.  He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Cary, and their son Thomas Burke McKinney, Jr. of Andrews, North Carolina, nephews Mack Clark, Little Rock, Arkansas, and Brandon Clark, New Zealand. 

A funeral service was held at noon, Friday, Feb. 10, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, Hwy 107 South, Cashiers. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Summit Charter School, 370 Mitten Lane, Cashiers, NC  28717.  A celebration of Burke’s life will be held in June in Cashiers.  Dates and details will be forthcoming. Condolences may be made online at www.ashevillemortuaryservices.com

Crossroads Chronicle

Mailing Address:
PO Box 1040
196 Burns Street, Suite 1
Cashiers, NC 28717
Phone: 828-743-5101
Fax: 828-743-4173