Former Boston Herald travel writer and web pioneer Bill Burke died unexpectedly in his Sandown, N.H., home Monday. He was 54.

Burke was instrumental in the team that created in the nascent days of internet journalism. He went on to serve as online managing editor at the Herald for six of the 11 years he worked at the newspaper.

For many years after, he would continue to freelance for the Herald and other publications, writing travel, food and music features.

"People talk about a writer's writer or an editor's writer — but Bill was a reader's writer," said the Herald's opinion page and features editor Sandra Kent. "He took the readers somewhere. He took them to Disney. He made them taste the food he was trying, ride the ride, and feel the same joy that he did."

Burke would go on to establish the Mousejunkies community, a network of thousands across the United States and around the globe linked by a common love of the Magic Kingdom and the particulars of enjoying the resort to its fullest.

Burke wrote three Mousejunkies travel books that chronicled his love for the park.

"He sort of embodied the phrase, do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life," Kent said.

At Parenting New Hampshire, he wrote his Dad on Board column for 12 years, sharing the joys and challenges of raising his daughter Katie and his efforts to impart the importance of Bruins hockey, Iron Maiden and the bass guitar on her.

He won seven gold and two silver awards from the Parenting Media Association for his column, which recognized his unique perspective and unconventional sense of humor. Burke also served as managing editor for custom publications at McLean Communications.

Born in Charlestown, he was the son of William and Karen (Gammon) Burke.

He was a devoted husband and father and will be missed by his wife of almost 26 years, Amy (Morancie) Burke; daughter, Katherine Burke; brother, Rick Burke and his wife, Janna, of Manchester, N.H.; sister Susan Payne and her husband, Shawn, of Maricopa, Ariz.; sister Christine Kane and her husband, Barry of Manchester, N.H.; as well as many nephews and nieces.

Relatives and friends are invited to call from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday at Brookside Chapel & Funeral Home, 116 Main St., Plaistow, N.H. His funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Atkinson Congregational Church, 101 Main St., Atkinson, N.H.


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