00:00 / 00:00

Jordan Burke

$144,814.33 (raised so far)

About Jordan Burke

Dr. Jordan Burke’s boisterous good nature was a fixture at UBC’s Faculty of Forestry for nearly eight years, beginning in 2012 after he completed his MSc at the University of Georgia. First as a PhD student, then as a postdoctoral fellow, Jordan shared his love of beetles and science with everyone he met — sometimes at great length, but always with a great sense of humour.

Often accompanied by his trusty canine sidekick, Cody, Jordan could be found analyzing beetles in the Forest Insect Disturbance Ecology Laboratory; buried waist-deep in snow chopping down trees in BC or Alberta; or sometimes just relaxing with a good beer and music. (He was, to put it mildly, an expert at relaxation.) Above all, though, teaching gave him the most fulfillment. He loved encouraging students to discover their passions both inside and outside academia.

Deeply kind, enthusiastic, opinionated, and hilarious, Jordan never lost the mischievous qualities of his somewhat misspent youth. He was a beloved friend, colleague, and teacher to many at UBC and beyond, and his legacy of intellectual curiosity and kindness will live on through them.

While a postdoc, Jordan found and married the love of his life, Caleigh Minshall. They were devoted to each other. At age 36, Jordan died of cancer on July 14, 2019. He is survived by his wife, mother and step-father, father and step-mother, and sister. We love him still.

Read More

The impact of your support

To honour Jordan’s life and passion for forestry, his family, friends and colleagues established a scholarship in his memory. Your gift will pay tribute to Jordan by supporting outstanding graduate students in the Faculty of Forestry who have demonstrated a passion for teaching in their roles as Teaching Assistants.

Update on award recipients

  • 2021 David Moulton
  • 2021 Jen Baron
  • 2020 Sophie Nitoslawski
  • 2020 Stefanie Lane
  • 2019 Kathleen Coupland
  • 2019 Stefanie Lane


Hauling boxes out of a moving truck with her husband and new lab mates, UBC Forestry PhD candidate Stefanie Lane heard about a man whose reputation for compassion she would go on to model in her own work. Where the Waters Meet | UBC Forestry

Read More

Messages of Remembrance

All Messages
Shape Created with Sketch.
  • I have sat and thought on my message for a number of years now. At the time, I could not think of the right words to express how much Jordan affected my life considering he was only in it for a short period of time. To me, Jordan was a teacher, a manager, and a friend. During my time in research, Jordan taught me that we do not always have the right answers all the time - and that's okay. Most importantly, Jordan taught me that we should live our lives with enthusiasm and candor. Considering this, Jordan has and I believe will continue to always have a profound effect on the way that I view myself and my life and I continue to miss his exuberance to this day.

    C Taylor, Student
  • You will always be in my heart.

    Debra Harris, Friend
  • Millie and I miss you very much. We couldn't let this page go live without at least one photo of you and Cody.

  • Cheers Jordan. I will miss our conversations that usually began with you saying, “this will only take a minute!” and finished up about an hour later! You will always be a part of the Forestry grad program.

    Gayle Kosh, UBC Colleague
  • We met at UBC. We were neighbors for many years. There are so many amazing memories, how could I list just one! You were an amazing person, great conversationalist and will forever be remembered! I loved our daily walks to the park or to the ocean with our dogs, Kota and Avery so they could play ball or swim. We often went to Grandville Island Market together to stock up on fresh vegetables so that we could juice them together. I still don’t know how I got you into juicing, but I loved the vegetable and fruit concoctions we would come up with! You often took my Jeep, whenever you needed a quick ride somewhere, or to carry your beetles to the forestry building. It always made me smile. You were always there for Avery and I. I don’t think I could have ever thanked you enough for watching Avery for me, day in and day out. You were always there for us, through everything. Thank you so much! Once I moved away from Vancouver, I truly enjoyed seeing you every time I came back to visit! I was so excited when you told me about Caleigh, I recall you saying “She ticks all the boxes. She has a dog, is a very loving person, is driven, and actually interested in what I do, I love tf out of her!” You were so happy to have finally met someone and I was thrilled for you! I knew you would find someone perfect for you even though you never thought you would. I am so grateful that you were able to marry the love of your life! Thank you Caleigh for making him so happy! Some of my fondest memories, are the deep conversations we had about life and about our futures. Especially during our Sushi dates. I am honored I was able to call you my friend and I thank you for being such a great person. I am truly going to miss you, Jordan.

    Ashley Johnson, Friend
  • Jordan was always able to identify or have good info on the insects I love photographing. He had a true passion for learning and I enjoyed following his research. We both have a love for bugs and I hope he is up there getting the best view possible of any and all anthropods this beautiful Earth has to offer.

    Emily Sulerud, Friend
  • Jordan, I carry you with me at all times.

    Garrett Burke,
  • If there is such a thing as reincarnation, I believe Jordan is now a small seedling of a pine. He will grow to be a beautiful and robust tree which will resist all pine beetles of the world:-) I met you many years ago but we only became friends once you moved to my office. First scared of this laud American, I grew to be a huge fan of yours and I am so glad for the year we spend together in that boiling-hot and freezing-cold office. You were always making fun of me being either cold or hot, I could never find the optimum. Every now and then you brought Cody to work, I used to have dogs and missed them and you knew that. We drank many beers together, had many scientific and life conversations, spent Thanksgiving and Christmas together and I will cherish those memories for life. You were cheering for my so much when I moved to Sweden and gave me distance support which I needed. Jordan, my dear friend, you left us too early and world without you will never be the same. I will miss you, always. XO

    Lenka Kuglerova, Friend and Former Office Mate
  • I miss you.

    April Burke, Mother
  • Jordan and I were both new grad students to UBC when we met in Allan Carroll's class. I am a shy person, but I basked in the warmth of his sunny, extroverted personality. Jordan and I both studied mountain pine beetle and over the years we talked a lot about bark beetles, especially the pheromones. Jordan seemed to be everywhere, he was everyone's friend and knew everyone's business. He always wanted to be a a part of people's projects, to help in some way. I can't believe that you're not going to be around anymore. I won't be able to stop expecting to see you. Whenever I see a big man with red hair and a beard, in a crowd, I hope that it's you. You are the cheerful voice that can be heard above the din. Thank you for being here with us.

    Christine, Friend and UBC Colleague
  • When I was tasked with teaching a brand new field course with 70 students (August 2017), I was very relieved when I was able to hire Jordan as my co-instructor. With his easy-going, positive attitude, his contributions were critical in making the course a success. He was a great instructor who cared about his students, and he was a lot of fun to be around. I miss being able to stop by his office for a chat. I've posted a photo of Jordan from when we were hiking the Joffre Lakes trail during our scouting trip for the field course.

    Patrick Culbert, UBC Colleague
  • It has been a great joy to know Jordan. Absolutely my favorite student. He would walk into the office with a joyful and jaunty walk. When he met Caleigh, it was clear.... she was the one. So happy they found each other. I wish it was sooner, and longer. A dear and faithful wife. A dear and faithful husband. Jordan is deeply missed.

    Natasha Thompson, Friend-Office Secretary
  • Jordan had such a beautiful spirit, and is so dearly missed on Athens campus. His smile and energy were contagious, and on top it, his intelligence shone brightly. Thank you Jordan for who you were and what you made of the short life. I am left with warm and beautiful memories which I will always deeply cherish. Here's a wonderful photo of you presenting an early research paper.

  • More cute pics. Couldn’t help it.

  • Jordan and I were good friends way back in the day in a little town called Alexandria. I met him in 9th grade and he became a close ally and friend throughout high school, college, and beyond. Countless beers and laughs, we would hang all the time, talking bout cars and girls. He was funny and witty. He knew how to drive teachers crazy! Lol, it was a sight to see. We even played ice hockey together for T.C. Williams High School. I remember one game, senior year, I was running the puck up the ice. I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye, a player from the opposing team was barring down on me. I looked up and braced for the imminent impact this player was sure to give. There was always a moment of dread before getting hit on ice. Without warning, Jordan came out of nowhere and leveled this kid. I mean just ran over him. The player had his legs in the air, slamming down on the ice. I'll never forget the sight and sound. It was marvelous! I miss you my brother. God speed!

    Daniel Smith, Friend
  • More pictures of our Jordan. :-)

    Natasha Thompson, Friend - office secretary
  • Jordan was one of my favorite students when he took FRST413 with me. Well, we are not really supposed to have favorite students, but we are all human. And Jordan just had this amazing way of filling the classroom with his endless enthusiasm. And what sure made him a favorite student, whenever I ran on empty towards the end of a long class, but still needed to bring it to conclusion, all I needed to do was this: Ask Jordan if he would perhaps like to comment on what we had just talked about. And sure, Jordan - without fail - would take the lead and kept us going. Later I had the enormous pleasure of joining Jordan's supervisory committee. Jordan very much was more a peer than a graduate student right from the beginning of his graduate program. He knew what he was doing, and he knew where he was going with his research. Always full of energy, always helpful, always a gentleman. His thesis defense was spectacular. We shared thoughts on coping with cancer, each from our own perspective, when it hits you in your thirties and you thought you were invincible, and about the importance of living life to the fullest. Will miss you

    Joerg Bohlmann, UBC Colleague
  • We only knew Jordan for a short time but he made a big impression. Before we met him it was clear by the way Caleigh talked about Jordan that he was someone she really wanted her parents to like. Luckily it was easy to like Jordan. Although there has been some talk about how Jordan could speak at length about, well about anything, we appreciated his ability to keep a conversation going! There was nothing of the shrinking violet about Jordan. After Caleigh and Jordan were married we looked forward to engaging in the usual in-law behaviour of turning to our son-in-law for help. From a distance this was difficult but we did send him pictures of bugs (or were they insects, still get that wrong) in our home for him to identify and reassure us as to their benign traits. We will miss his good nature, his engaging personality but most of all we will miss how he made our daughter happy and made her feel so loved.

    Anne Marie and Patrick Minshal, Jordan's In-laws
  • The response on this page is simply overwhelming. We cannot thank you enough. There are unconfirmed reports that the mountain pine beetles in Alberta are celebrating. This must not stand. We must continue the work!

    Garrett Burke, Father
  • Name another professor that will drink pitchers of beer with you within an hour of finishing their exam. I bet you can’t!! Jordan was a brilliant man, and a kind spirit. I only hope that his work will be continued with the passion and integrity characteristic of him. Your smile will be missed, Jordan!

    Shawna Girard, Student and Friend
  • Jordan brought energy, a unique perspective, and inspiring wit combined with a special ability to connect with his students. He got me excited about Forestry, bugs, and the bigger picture surrounding why our roles as foresters are so important in today's rapidly changing world. Thank you for motivating me to do and be better. UBC Forestry, faculty and students alike, will miss your presence.

    Luke Allen, Student and Friend
  • Jordan was always able to put a smile on my face. I also knew that he was nearby because I usually could hear him, either talking or laughing. A great guy, who always knew how to have fun and live to the fullest. I am going to miss you, dude.

    Marc-Antoine Leclerc, Friend
  • Jordan was an extremely talented and inspiring professor who had a deeply encouraging attitude through his enthusiasm and passion for his work. It was always a pleasure to learn about forest pathology with his motivating and engaging teaching style. I often fondly remember sitting in Jordan's lectures on forest pathology and will always think of him in loving memory. I am grateful and honoured to have been one of his students at UBC Forestry, and his legacy of work and passion for forestry continues to inspire. I will miss you.

    Alex Tang, Student and Friend
  • Jordan was very welcoming and supportive when I first started in the Forest Insect Disturbance Ecology Lab, buying me a coffee during our first meeting at Bean Around the World. Even though he wasn’t well, Jordan was committed to joining us for lab drinks, dinners, and for an amazing 2018 entomology conference in Vancouver. His positive attitude was truly inspiring to those around him, and we will continue our bark beetle research in his memory. Jordan – we will always be bonded by our love of beetles, and you are invited to join me in the woods at any time. You are deeply missed.

    Debra Wertman, Labmate and Friend
  • Just Now You were bold and you were strong, just like a big bear in the forest, Bursting through the green pines, and shaking off the snow, With your brilliance shining out there, through the timber and the tall trees. There was nothing that could stop you, you had everywhere to go. There’s a wind blows through the forest, there are beetles in the loam, Something makes us keep on living, something keeps us coming home, It’s a long hard time of grieving, and we cried out at your leaving, But just now I feel your presence, and just now I miss you so.

    Dick Flynt, Stepfather
  • I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone as enthusiastic about forest entomology as Jordan was. His enthusiasm was infectious, as was his friendly demeanor. Jordan, you will be missed by so many of us. We are poorer for your absence.

    Dezene Huber, Tria-NET colleague
  • I have a pretty vivid memory of meeting Jordan for the first time. It was 2014, during the first year of my Master's degree at UBC, and we were in a mutual friend's kitchen. One of us was indulging in a Palm Bay and the other made a joke about it (and I find it funny that I can't remember who did what). Mostly, I recall him casually launching into wild tales from his youth and me failing to contribute anything that was even remotely as interesting. From then on, I frequently sought him out as someone who could be counted upon for excellent conversation. Jordan was always ready with a huge smile and something to share, be it about politics, his much-adored dog, the woes of grad school, anything beetle-related, and later, the exciting new gal in his life. As I finished my degree and took on a job as an instructor for the first time, our conversations shifted to teaching. I was terrified - what if I look at the slide and I realize I know NOTHING? - and he was excellent at both commiserating and providing tips. He had such a great sense of humour about teaching and cared deeply about the success of his students. Jordan, I have so much respect for your passion as a teacher and a scientist. You are very missed by me and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing you.

    Rachel Wilson, Friend and UBC Colleague
  • My contribution to the photo wall. Jordan the free spirit!

    Maureen Burke, Aunt
  • You were always fun and easy to talk to. Whether it was about your research or the Grateful Dead. I always learned something. Thank you for inviting me into your home and feeding me your delicious food. Rest in peace

  • I met Jordan at NAFIWC 2016 and loved hearing his insights as we attended a few talks together. At the time I was in the first year of my PhD, and Jordan had either just finished or was finishing his. He knew sooooooo much about bark beetles and discussed them with such passion and enthusiasm. I thought to myself that maybe when I'd studied as long as he had I'd be as knowledgeable, but here I am at about that point now, and I can't compare! Jordan was fun and funny and an excellent scholar and teacher, and I gathered all that over just being around him for a few days. I will miss him at future professional meetings, and I know so many feel his absence so deeply.

    Haley Ritger, The Gandhi Lab
  • I first met Jordan in the spring of 2010 when he took my course, FANR 8200 Introduction to Research in Natural Resources, along with labmates Brittany Barnes, Kayla Brownell and Jenny Staeben. You always heard Jordan coming before you saw him and he quickly distinguished himself as provocateur-in-chief for the class. That semester flew by and I will always recall that class as one of the most enjoyable I ever taught. Our friendship only grew through the years and it was truly a joy that I was able to continue working with him as he progressed through his PhD and embarked on his postdoctoral research. His premature departure is a terrible loss for all who knew him.

    Jeff Dean, Professor and Friend
  • I remember Jordan's boisterous and friendly nature from middle school, mostly spent at an after school program, into our high school years. Jordan was always up to play basketball or whatever corny game the after school coordinators had in store for us! Jordan was always so full of energy, smiling, or cracking a joke with anyone, no matter what ' social group' they were in; he was nice to everyone. His energy was always enthusiastic and his happiness was compelling (even during the tricky years of middle school)! I contacted Jordan in 2013 , shortly after moving to the Pacific Northwest. Although it had been years since we had spoken , he graciously showed me and my fiancé , Corey, around Granville Island in Vancouver. Jordan's personality and enthusiasm had not shifted! He took us out to some great places to eat, shared what his life was like at UBC/ the research he was working on and his passion for his studies in Forestry. He was still cracking jokes and making everyone around him feel welcome and included. He was effusive about his love for the work and the region he was in. It was very cool to see how his brains and personality had propelled him into a great life in British Columbia. It was nice to have a beer with him and share some memories of growing up and moving out of the area in which we were raised. I will never forget Jordan's zest for the bugs, his unwavering kindness, and his hospitality. A great guy, gone too soon.

    Alexandra Knezo, Friend from Alexandria, VA
  • Jordan Burke was a reader and a pack rat. When I sensed the end of my days at Scotts Canada (they were going to close the Delta office) I wrote to Allan Carroll and asked if he wanted my reprint collection. He sent Jordan in an empty pick up truck to collect it. After loading it into boxes and into the truck, I asked if he was interested in other items of literature that I had. So he looked at a book or two and said yes please. Then he looked at some more books and said these too. Then his eyes settled on about 10 big loose-leaf binders with uncatalogued papers, and those were loaded into the truck as well. By the end of the afternoon, my office was bare (he took everything) and the truck's headlights pointed at the sky. I know why this happened. Literature contained knowledge, and Jordan was a sponge for it, He simply could not resist. he was delighted with his acquisitions, and I was content that my collection had found a good home. I trust that Jordan has as well.

    John Borden, Colleague
  • Jordan was an amazing person. He was intelligent, enthusiastic, confident, and charming. He genuinely cared for others and had a very bright future in science. He was very focused on his work and absolutely loved teaching. He was also funny, always made me laugh and brightened my day. He and Cody are a fixture in my mind as I was friend with the duo throughout my time at UBC. I am truly sorry for his loss. My heart and thoughts go to Caleigh, Garrett, April, Liz, and all his family. I know you are all proud of him--we stand with you in remembering him and his love for others.

    Tonya Ramey, Friend
  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts and friendship, and for listening. Adam and I enjoyed walking with you and Cody in Acadia Park. Lots of love from us, Raphael

    Raphael Chavardes, Friend
  • We met Jordan at a Christmas party, and immediately gravitated towards him. He was boisterous, fun, and so easy to talk to. He made the Mountain Pine Beetle sound like the most interesting thing in the world! We loved spending time with Jordan and Caleigh playing crokinole, and feel lucky that we got to be a small part of his life. We will remember Jordan in his Christmas sweater with the twinkling lights.

    Danya and Matt, Friends
  • Here's another nice picture of Caleigh & Jordan

    Anne Marie and Patrick Minshall, Jordan's in-laws
  • I met Jordan when I moved to Athens, GA in 2004. I had a job at Applebee's as a line cook and Jordan worked as the expo. At first we yelled and screamed at each other during the stressful nights at work, but before long we were good friends. I moved in with Jordan and our friend Josh in 2005. Jordan and I remained roommates for the next 7 years. Jordan and I had some crazy times together. We partied, rode motorcycles, and spent plenty of time playing video games. As the years went by we steadily grew and wanted to make more of ourselves. We both studied entomology at the University of Georgia while working in restaurants to support ourselves. Jordan excelled in the forestry side of things and I studied the public health aspect of entomology. Years later we both had our PhD's and were amazed that we had come so far. It was a pleasure sharing that journey with Jordan. Jordan was always open to discussing the craziest of ideas, and we came up with plenty over the years. He was very intelligent and did not shy away from sharing his thoughts on any topic. Although we clashed on occasion, Jordan was the closest I have had to a brother. He was my best man when I married my wife Brittany in 2013. Anyone that had the opportunity to know Jordan was extremely fortunate. It is rare to find someone that can be so open, honest, and fun to be around. I hope that the molecules that used to be part of Jordan have been recycled to new forms of life that he would enjoy studying. Brittany and I will keep his family and friends in our thoughts.

    Joe Iburg, Previous Co-Worker and Roomate
  • I continue to be honoured by the depth of the postings on this site. I feel that I know my son better now than I did before.

    Garrett Burke, Father
  • Jordan's love of forests, insects, and science was thoroughly engaging and contagious. He was so exuberant about everything he was doing. He loved sharing his latest ideas with everyone, and was fearless in thinking outside the box. He was passionate that good science be transferred to wisely managing our natural resources. Few people were more fun to be with at meetings. He was always willing to volunteer his time, and that positive energy had a strong ripple effect. Our whole community still feels that strong ripple effect even now.

    Ken Raffa, Colleague
  • Jordan, Your larger than life personality and full embrace of it, have left a lasting impression that will be cherished and remembered. I send well wishes to your family and extended circle of friends, and colleagues. Miss you buddy,

    Romain, Friend and Colleague
  • Was reading about moth pests today and thought of you. My heart also skipped a beat when a beetle emerged from one of Miles's gift bags on his birthday...wasn't expecting you to stop by! Thank you for crushing up sidewalk mushrooms so the spores can travel, I laugh whenever I see mushrooms growing in random places. Thank you for telling me all about the power capacity of microwaves at Applebee’s and how alfredo sauce is made at Olive Garden. Thank you for reading my three minute thesis in the voice used to narrate action movie trailers. Thank you for helping with salmon fertilizations and warning that you will find it hilarious. Thank you for wearing a party hat at pho dinner. Thank you for liking my Pinterest crafts. Thank you for referring to my son as a pupae. Thank you for being so excited to show me a photograph of you with dreadlocks. Thank you for being genuinely you.

    Natalie, Friend, UBC
List of Donors
All Donors
  • Josef Budniakiewicz in memory of Jordan Burke

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Amelia Gannon

  • Bill Gannon

  • Tim and Angela Gannon

  • Doug Weiss

  • George Bushnell

  • Anonymous Donation

  • Donna Long

  • Jim & Linda Chalat

  • Terrill H Burnett

  • Josef & Callie

Add your memory

Contribute to keep telling this story

Give in memory of Jordan Burke and help keep their passion alive through UBC
Drop files here or
Accepted file types: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, bmp, tiff, tif, svg, webp, Max. file size: 4 GB.