Obituary : Henry F. Burkin
Henry Frank Burkin died peacefully at Martha's Vineyard Hospital of complications from Parkinson's disease, on May 1. He was 67 years old. A long-time resident of Chilmark, he first visited the Vineyard in 1972, on his 10th wedding anniversary, with his beloved wife, Gloria Burkin. Together they moved to the Island in 1992 when he became director of the Substance Abuse Unit at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital.
The second child of Sadie and Benjamin Burkin, Henry was born in New York City in 1942. He attended local public schools and then Hunter College before transferring to Northeastern University, and later Adams State College. Henry received an MA in clinical psychology from Boston University, and later a PhD from Heed University.
Throughout his career as a clinical psychologist, Henry led several innovative programs, including Bay Cove Mental Health at Tufts University, and was an early pioneer in assisting with transitioning people with disabilities from institutions to community residences. He started his own private practice in the 1980s. During this time, Henry spent summers on Martha's Vineyard where he became an avid fisherman, and dreamed of the day he could move with his family to the Island full-time.
After his three children - Lisa, Michael and Jennifer - left for college, Henry and Gloria finally moved to the Island as year-round residents. Henry volunteered with many Island organizations, including serving as a long-time member of the Personnel Board for the town of Chilmark, a board member for the Vineyard House, and he was actively involved in Parkinson's support groups both on, and off the Island, with his wife.
Throughout this time, Henry continued to fish avidly, both onshore and offshore, and entered the Derby each year. When he retired from the hospital in 1996, he began his second career as a charter-fishing captain, with his business The Island Lure in Menemsha. Henry enjoyed teaching young and old alike to fish, and spent many days on his boat, The Glory B, named for his wife. In spite of his battle with Parkinson's disease, Henry received his captain's license from the U.S. Coast Guard in 1999.
Survivors include his loving wife of 46 years, Gloria Burkin of Chilmark; his children, Lisa Burkin of Chilmark, Michael Burkin and his partner, Michael Greenblatt, of New York City, and Jennifer Burkin of Brookline; his sister, Ethel Liss of Fair Lawn, N.J., and his niece and nephew, Adrienne Peres of Baltimore, Md., and Andrew Liss of Fair Lawn, N.J.; and his mother-in-law, Marjory Poock of Brookline.
A graveside service will be held at Abel's Hill Cemetery on May 30 at 2 pm, with a celebration of his life to follow at the Chilmark Community Center. Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Though, Henry's courageous, 25-year battle with Parkinson's disease is over, his family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research at michaeljfox.org.