Louis C. Rourke was a man who adored his family with all of his heart. He was born to Clifford and Constance Rourke in Hartford, Connecticut, and raised in Buffalo, New York, alongside his siblings Mary, Cliff, TK, Patti, and Jon. His fondest childhood memories were of time spent in the kitchen with his brothers and sisters as well as with his extended family at the New England shore. An extrovert through and through, he was friendly & talkative and combined with his love of routine, he was extremely well suited to the military and the civil service.
As a young man, Lou began a course of study at divinity school. After some time in divinity school, he left his studies and began his military service in the United States Army. He served overseas in Vietnam, working with the corps of engineers, where his superiors noted his work ethic, organizational skills, and reliability allowing him to ultimately rise to the ranks of Major. Upon returning home, he continued to serve in the Army Reserves in Schenectady.
In Queensbury, New York Lou worked for the Social Security Administration. Starting as a claims representative he worked his way up to a network administrator and due to his commitment to service, he became the union leader for many years. An avid consumer of knowledge, he voraciously read and absorbed everything he could find pertaining to technology in an effort to self-educate. This led to his career advancement in computer technology. He took pride in this job. You could always count on him to carry around a coveted Social Security office pen which his daughters learned early on not to try to steal. After retirement, he often bragged he was being paid to stay home from two jobs and he loved this time of his life.
Eventually, Lou left New York State and returned to the Cape Cod area he loved so much from his youth. He enjoyed visiting the beaches of his childhood; sometimes with a daughter and daughter-in-law in tow. In Fall River and then Swansea, he was an active member of the community. A core value to serve others drove him to volunteer at both the local library and community College where his passion for reading and sharing knowledge led him to teach in the literacy program there.
He was often found taking walks and making dear friends with his neighbors (always with a stash of Hershey’s Almond Nuggets in his pocket). Many who knew him heard him tell-tale of the infamous water balloon fight from his childhood. The Rourke and Greaney kids caused such chaos that the town shut off the public water supply. When he wasn’t busy wreaking havoc, he and the Rourke clan also shared a love of the written word.
In a family of book lovers, Lou was in serious contention for the title of Most Avid Reader. He’d come home from volunteer shifts at the library’s used book store with a pile he’d bought for himself only to donate them back to the same store the next week. His favorite genres were history and historical fiction; he found that reading about the past helped him to understand the present and the future. His attempts to ignite the same fascination about American history in his daughters during family trips were less successful than the annual viewing of the musical 1776.
His love of God reminded him to enjoy life’s little pleasures such as coffee milkshakes, Stewart’s corn chips, a warm slice of pie, and good music. For Louie, good music ranged from hits of the 60s and 70s to traditional Irish melodies to folk songs featuring Bible verses in their lyrics. Despite his predilection for electric guitar, he had an unexpected enthusiasm for ABBA, a classic example of his boundless interests. His daughters’ could always count on him to sing the bass section of Handle’s Hallelujah Chorus despite his insistence that he couldn’t carry a tune. This burst of joy was one of many annual traditions he relished in with his family.
Anyone who spent time with Lou heard him say how much he loved his daughters. His proudest accomplishment was being a father to Nancy, Kate, and Connie and then a grandfather to Zoe. He could usually be found wearing a sweatshirt sporting the name of one of the various colleges his children attended. His love for family extended to a Brittany Spaniel named Suzie. A self-proclaimed dog person, he also tolerated the endless parade of stray kittens that found their way into his backyard.
Louis had a kind heart and a generous spirit. He adored being part of something greater and strove to always be helpful to those in need. He will be remembered for his unwavering dedication to family, community, and country, and missed for his natural ability to brighten anyone's day.
We leave with this quote from George Washington’s farewell address which encapsulates the ineffable complexities of Louis Rourke:
“I carry with me the hope that [you] never cease to view [my defects] with indulgence, and that, after [a] life dedicated to service with an upright zeal, the faults of incompetent abilities will be consigned to oblivion."
Rourke, Louis C. of Hudson Falls, NY passed on July 2, 2022. Devoted father of Nancy (Louis Chitty) Rourke, Kate (Aaron Rishel) Niver, and Connie (Lexi Beach) Rourke; loving grandfather of Zoe Niver; cherished brother of Mary, the late Cliff (Kim), TK, Patti, and Jon (Virginia); also survived by the mother of his daughters as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins. A lifetime of service to his family, community, and country. Friends and family will be received Mon. 7/11, 10-12 PM at LAKESIDE MEMORIAL FUNERAL HOME, INC. 1340 Union Rd. West Seneca, NY 14224 716-674-5776. A Celebration of Life to follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the public library of Hudson Falls, NY. Online donations and condolences may be made at www.LakesideFuneralHome.com.