John C. Burke - Missing Headstone Replaced for Chicago Policeman Killed 100 Years Ago - Memorial to be held this Sunday at Mt. Olivet Catholic Cemetery 2755 W. 111th St. in Mount Greenwood at 1:00 pm
MOUNT GREENWOOD — A ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday to honor Chicago Police officer John C. Burke, who was killed in the line of duty pursuing the "Red Pepper" bandit a century ago.
The ceremony at Mount Olivet Cemetery, 2755 W. 111th St. in Mount Greenwood will re-dedicate Burke's headstone, which went missing in June, according to Martin Gainer, a retired Chicago Police sergeant.
The new headstone was paid for by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. The effort to replace the stone was launched by Burke's large, extended family — many of whom have also pursued careers in law enforcement, Gainer said.
"My uncle was killed 100 years ago. And to the Memorial Foundation, it was as though he was killed last week," said Gainer, his voice cracking from emotion.
Burke, 29, married Gainer's grandmother's sister, Rose Flanigan. The pair were wed for just two months when Burke was killed by the delivery truck robber known for throwing red pepper into the eyes of his victims to avoid a pursuit, according to reports published in the Chicago Tribune.
"Don't wait for dinner for me, Rose. I'm going to get that red pepper robber, and I'll be late," the newspaper reported Burke saying the morning of his death on Dec. 16, 1915.