Rattlers mourn baseball player

Florida A&M students gathered Friday night to mourn the death of fellow student, Antonio Burke. A candlelight vigil was held in honor of the former baseball player Friday night.

Family members could  not be reached for details regarding his death.  A cause of death has not been officially released.

Burke, 20, was an outfielder for the Rattler baseball team during the 2008-2009 season. The Atlanta native had plans to return to Tallahassee in the fall and play for Florida State University.

The candle light vigil took place at the FAMU baseball field at 7 p.m. Not even 19-degree weather could keep students from paying tribute to one of their own. Students huddled together in attempt to keep warm as well as comfort one another in this time of sorrow.

Joseph Agboola, 21, a third-year graphic design student, England led the memorial service.

“He was a Rattler and students would want to come out and show support,” Agboola said.

Student Body Vice President Calvin Hayes, 21, a public relations student from Orlando opened the service.

“We all may not be able to hit a home run, but we know how to run home to haven when it is time,” Hayes said. “Time like these come to teach lessons and unify our student body…we all may not be able to hit a home run, but we know how to run home to heaven when it is time.”

Fellow baseball players, campus organizations, clubs and students who never had the opportunity to meet Burke, were all in attendance to show support.

Burke’s friends were given a segment to speak and reminisce on memories of Burke.
Dominique Key, 20, a junior biology student from Orlando said Antonio had a great sense of humor, which always kept her smiling.

“He was so funny, always had me laughing, he always cracked jokes whether it was about me, or something else,” said Key.  “He was just always fun to be around. Every time he would see me he would give me big hug and just make me feel loved.”

Devin Iverson, 20, a second-year public relations student from Atlanta, said Burke had a desire to make everyone happy.

“Antonio always focused on the positive side of life,” Iverson said. “My brother was a good student and an even greater baseball player. There weren’t many days that went by that he didn’t do something to perfect his craft.”

Iverson said she met Burke in her seventh biology class and they remained friends for eight years.

“I will miss him as my big brother figure in my life…he always looked out for me,” Iverson added. “I am proud to say I knew Antonio and his memory will make me smile forever.”

Steven Pargett, 20, a third-year marketing student from Los Angeles said the vigil opened his eyes to the significance of life.

“What this said to me is that it is important for us to be living our dreams today and celebrate life everyday,” Pargett said.

Memorial services for Burke will be held at the Faith Cathedral, 212 Riverside Pkwy., in Austell, Ga., on Jan. 15 at 11 a.m.