Burke Boger, 32: Lived on the stage of life, theater

Burke Boger was always camera-ready. From sporting tuxedos as a pre-teen, to his extensive wardrobe in adulthood, Boger could be ready for anything with a moment’s notice, and look the part.

He was always in character, in one way or another, said his father, Richard “Dick” Boger, of Atlanta. “His brother Owen said it best, whether Burke was on a stage in the theater, or on the stage of life, he seemed to always be ready.”

And Burke Boger was well versed in the theater, and its classic works, often dropping references to, and lines from, Shakespeare’s plays into casual conversation.

“He was an actor and a player,” said his brother, Owen Boger, of New York. “And he played his part exceptionally well.”

Burke Lawrence Boger, of Atlanta, died suddenly April 8 from injuries sustained in a fall. He was 32.

A memorial service was held Thursday at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Atlanta. At a later date, his ashes will be buried at Highlands Memorial Park in North Carolina, near those of his mother, Harriet Boger, who died in September. SouthCare Cremation & Funeral Society, Marietta, was in charge of arrangements.

Boger, who grew up in Atlanta, attended the Westminster Schools, but graduated from Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va. He was among a group of students who championed the arts at Episcopal High, his father said.

“People and the theater have always been at the heart of what Burke loved,” Dick Boger said, of his son.

At the time of his death, Burke Boger was employed by Atlanta-based Big Game Brands, where he worked with franchisers and franchisees on real estate deals. He’d recently started getting back to the stage, performing as a guest with Village Theater.

“When we’d have lunch or dinner, we’d often talk about his abilities to do improv, which were phenomenal,” his father said. “And I would encourage him to pursue that, because he was so good at it.”

There were so many things Boger was good at, said family friend Ray McPhail, of Highlands, N.C. His knowledge of performance was obvious in everything he did, including playing the harmonica.

“He was a true Renaissance Man,” said McPhail, who hosts Bluegrass musical events in Highlands. “Burke came to one of those events, and had his harmonicas, which he called harps, and was able to jump right in. He blew everybody’s mind. I’m told he could play almost anything, but all I had up here was Bluegrass.”

Boger not only shared his musical abilities with friends and strangers, but he shared himself, his brother and father said. Described as “selfless” by his older brother, Dick Boger said his son’s impact had a reach his youngest son likely never knew.

“Burke will never know the range of influence he had on people,” his father said. “He brought a certain gusto into the lives of so many people, pulled them out of funks, and then help put them on a different path.”

In addition to his father and brother, Boger is survived by a number of extended family members and close friends.