Daniel Barnett Burke died at his home in Rye, N.Y., on Oct. 26, 2011, from complications of type 1 diabetes. He was 82 years old.

He was born in Albany, N.Y., on Feb. 4, 1929, son of Mary Barnett Burke and James Francis Burke.

He was the third in a family of four children. His father worked for New York Life Insurance and he spent his early years growing up in small towns like Slingerlands, N.Y., and Dorset, Vt.

After graduating from the University of Vermont in 1950 he joined the United States Army and served eight months in Korea as a first lieutenant and mortar platoon leader, leaving the service in January of 1953 with commendations for meritorious service. That fall, he enrolled in the Harvard Business School, from which he graduated in 1955, and with his MBA degree, accepted a brand management position with the General Foods Corp.

In 1961 he was recruited by Tom Murphy of Capital Cities Broadcasting to leave General Foods and run the company’s television station in Albany, N.Y.  This risky career move began a relationship between Murphy and Burke that would last more than 30 years, a time during which Capital Cities grew from a small station manager (the name derived from their ownership of two television outlets – one in Albany, N.Y., the other in Raleigh, N.C.) to one of the largest and most respected media companies in the world.

After serving as the station manager in Albany, Burke moved to Detroit where he oversaw the operations of WJR, one of the most popular radio stations in the country. From there, he moved to Capital Cities’ corporate headquarters in New York, where he served ultimately as the company’s president and chief operating officer. Dan Burke helped manage the growing business through the acquisition of such properties as The Kansas City Star and Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspapers, television and radio stations in Philadelphia, Fresno, New Haven, and Buffalo, as well as Fairchild Publications, publisher of several magazines, most notably Women’s Wear Daily.

As the company grew, so did the reputation of the Tom Murphy/Dan Burke management team.  Legendary investor and Capital Cities board member Warren Buffett said that having Murphy and Burke at the same company was “like having Ruth and Gehrig in the same lineup.”

In 1985, Buffett’s confidence in this team led him to provide much of the needed capital to finance what was then the largest non-oil company merger in corporate history: Capital Cities Communications’ $3.5 billion purchase of ABC. After successfully integrating these two companies, Burke was elevated to CEO of Capital Cities/ABC Inc., a position he held until his retirement – on his 65th birthday – in February of 1994.

Knowing that he would leave the company when he turned 65, Burke spent part of his free time in the years prior working to bring minor league baseball to his beloved state of Maine. From the time he was in graduate school, he had spent every summer in Kennebunk Beach, and as a lifelong baseball fan, he hoped to create or move a franchise to Portland. This work paid off when Major League Baseball added new franchises in Florida and Colorado, and Burke – working closely with Portland city officials – was able to establish the Marlins’ AA affiliate Portland Sea Dogs, who hosted their first home game just two months after Burke’s retirement.

The Sea Dogs became the Red Sox affiliate in 2003 and won their first Eastern League championship in 2006. Overseeing the operations of the team and watching stands filled with families enjoying baseball on beautiful summer nights became one of his life’s greatest pleasures.

Burke served on several other corporate boards, including The Washington Post Co., Morgan Stanley, Consolidated Rail Corp., Rohm and Haas and Darden Restaurants. A former co-chair of the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital board, he was later named Chairman Emeritus at New York Presbyterian. Dan Burke is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame, the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame, and the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame.

He also served as a trustee and Chairman of the Board at the University of Vermont and actively – but often anonymously – supported numerous philanthropic efforts, including the Maine Family Literacy Initiative, Cities in Schools, The National Urban League and The Partnership for a Drug Free America.

A passionate advocate for the advancement of minorities in the media business, he helped establish the Foundation for Minority Interests in Media and in 1984 received the Ida B. Wells Award, presented to executives who have made a significant difference in the hiring, promotion, and news coverage of underrepresented minorities.

In addition to his business career and passion for baseball, Dan Burke enjoyed playing golf and tennis, and while he was rarely one of the better players in the foursome, he was a fierce competitor who was always quick with a joke or a jibe.

He is survived by Harriet “Bunny” Burke, his wife of 54 years, four children; Steve Burke of Philadelphia, Pa., Frank Burke of Chattanooga, Tenn., Sally McNamara of Wellesley, Mass., and Bill Burke of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and 14 grandchildren.

A visitation service will be held at the Graham Funeral Home, 1036 Post Road in Rye, N.Y., on Sunday, Oct. 30, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The funeral service will take place at St. Martha Church, 30 Portland Road, Kennebunk, Maine, on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made to Maine Medical Center, The Partnership for a Drug Free America, and the Naomie Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center.