We are saddened to announce that one of our founders, Franklin A. Burke, passed away in Sun City, Arizona this past weekend at age 83 after a brief illness. His wife, Elizabeth, son, Robert, and daughter, Sally, were by his side.
Frank and Nicholas Lawton (d. 1989) co-founded our firm in 1964. The two served in the US Air Force and met when they were stationed together in England. Upon their return to the Philadelphia area, they co-founded “Burke Lawton” – what is now known as BLB&B Advisors, LLC.
From the beginning, Burke Lawton focused on providing clients with what they believed to be the best possible investment advice and brokerage services. In the 1960s, investing was perceived as an activity available only to the wealthy and most investment firms refused to work with investors with only modest sums to invest. Frank and Nick wanted to do things differently and offered investment services specifically to those who were turned down by other investment firms simply because they could not meet the required minimum investment amount.
Frank and Nick had a modest start in a two room office in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Lots of hard work and a fierce commitment to treating all their clients with respect, while helping them to build assets over time, were key ingredients of the firm’s success. Over the decades, Burke Lawton moved to larger quarters, added additional partners and staff, embraced technological and industry advances, and greatly broadened its service offerings and client base. Today, thanks to the strong foundation laid by Frank and Nick and the purposeful perpetuation of their core values, BLB&B Advisors serves clients in 44 states and out of a universe of 18,225 Independent and Hybrid RIA practices in the country, BLBB Advisors has assets under management in the top 4%.*
Although Frank was a successful entrepreneur, his biggest contributions to the community were his lifelong commitment to education and his philanthropic leadership. Frank had a passion for ensuring that educational opportunities were available to all, regardless of their background or finances. To that end, Frank served for many years as a trustee at the Williamson College of the Trades – a highly regarded and free technical and trade school in suburban Philadelphia – and owned The Omega Institute – a technical institute in Pennsauken, NJ that helped non-traditional students re-enter the workforce. Frank was a key supporter of the Ellis Foundation, a Kansas-based national college scholarship and mentoring program for students, and Kansas State University, his alma mater. All told, Frank and his wife have quietly funded educational opportunities for thousands of students – many of whom they’ve never met. In addition to Frank’s service on many boards during his 50+ year career, he was also an integral part of the leadership at his church, Pleasantville United Church of Christ in Chalfont, PA.
Although Frank and Elizabeth resided in Arizona in recent years, their ties to suburban Philadelphia remained strong. On April 14, 2018 at 11:00 am, there will be a memorial service honoring Frank’s life at Pleasantville United Church of Christ in Chalfont, PA with a reception to follow at Normandy Farms. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Frank’s honor to the Williamson College of the Trades.