When business permits of a leisure hour Edward J. Burkley greatly enjoys a game of golf or motor trip but the major part of his time and attention are concentrated upon the responsible duties that devolve upon him as manager at St. Louis for the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut. In this connection he has built up a business of extensive proportions and is one of the well known representatives of insurance interests in St. Louis. A native of Ohio, he was born in Cleveland, June 5, 1884, and is a son of Frederick J. Burkley, who was likewise born in the Buckeye state and was of German descent. His father was the founder of the American branch of the family, crossing the Atlantic in the late ’40s and taking up his abode in Ohio. Frederick J. Burkley became a butcher by trade and profited as the years passed by through the successful conduct of the business interests under his control. He was born in 1858 and therefore had attained the age of fifty-eight years when he passed away on the 10th of July, 1906. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Boetcher, was born in Germany and pursued her education in that country. She still survives her husband and is now living in Cleveland, Ohio. Their family numbered four children, three daughters and one son.
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The only son and eldest of the family is Edward J. Burkley, who pursued his education in the public and high schools of Cleveland, Ohio, to the age of eighteen years, when he started out to earn his own livelihood. He learned the butchering business under the direction of his father and continued in active connection with the meat trade as a partner of his father for a period of three years. He next engaged in the same line of business on his own account in Cleveland for a year, at the end of which time he sold his store and later engaged in the flour brokerage business in Cleveland. This he followed successfully for eleven years, at the end of which time he turned his attention to the life insurance business, becoming an employe of the Phoenix Mutual Life Insurance Company. After nine months spent as a salesman he was promoted to the position of assistant manager of the Cleveland office and on the 1st of January, 1918, was assigned to the position of manager of the St. Louis office, in which capacity he has since continued, making a most creditable record here through the efficient and thorough methods he has followed in the upbuilding of the business. under his management the patronage has grown to very satisfactory proportions and his is among the leading insurance agencies in the St. Louis territory. The St. Louis office has jurisdiction over all Missouri, save Kansas City, and also over southern Illinois, and Mr. Burkley has sixteen agents who are representing his office throughout the territory indicated.
In Cleveland, Ohio, on the 17th of September, 1906, Mr. Burkley was married to Miss Harriet Wittmus, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a daughter of Frederick Wittmus, who was of German parentage. They now have one son, David Burkley, who was born in Cleveland, July 6, 1907.
During the World war Mr. Burkley was active in support of many projects for the benefit of the country and the support of its soldiery in the fields. He labored most effectively in connection with the sale of Liberty bonds and was chairman of the downtown drives for the Red Cross. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and active in support of all interests which are matters of civic virtue and of civic pride. His political endorsement is given to the republican party, but the honors and emoluments of office have had no attraction for him. He belongs to the university City lodge, A. F. & A. M., and to Hillman Chapter, R. A. M., of Cleveland, and he has membership in St. Louis with the Sunset Hill Country Club, the Missouri Athletic Association, the St. Louis Club and the City Club. He is also a member of the First Christian church, and in these various connections are indicated the rules which govern his conduct and shape his relations with his fellowmen. Those who know him prize his friendship and those who have met him in a business way acknowledge his power and forcefulness as a factor in the insurance activity of St Louis.