Karl John Burgess died peacefully at his home in Aquinnah on April 29 after a lengthy illness. He was 78.

Karl was born Nov. 29, 1935 in New Bedford. He was the son of Thomas and Marion (Stoll) Burgess. He was also preceded in death by his brother Thomas W. Burgess. He was a graduate of the Holy Family High School class of 1955 and continued his studies at Boston College, where he graduated in 1959 with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing.

Sports were a large part of Karl’s formative years. In 1952, Karl was a starting pitcher in his freshman season at Holy Family and received many accolades in baseball and basketball. In the summer of 1958, Karl was a standout pitcher with the James P. Murphy Memorial team that won the City League, Old Colony League and Tri-State championships. While his team was participating in the State Semi-Pro Tournament in Haverhill, Karl’s efforts caught the eye of a Red Sox scout. Karl was contacted by the Red Sox and a tryout was arranged at Fenway Park. He was a real prospect. Karl stopped playing baseball after college, but his love for competitive sports never waned. Karl’s professional career was spent at several organizations including Sylvania, IBM, Addresso-Graph Multi-Graph and ITT Grinnell. For years he worked at Motorola Inc., until he retired from his position of vice president of communications in 1993 and moved to his home on Martha’s Vineyard. Karl was a communicant of St. James Church. He was a lifetime fan of the Boston Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins and the New England Patriots. He was also an avid reader, golfer and sailor. He spent much of his boyhood boating in and around Martha’s Vineyard with his uncle, Capt. Bill Barlow, who was a huge influence in his early years. He was a devoted husband and loving father and could be found many a weekend driving around New England for horse shows or attending the gymnastics meets of his daughters.

Karl is survived by his wife Patricia (Taylor), his four daughters — Kathleen Manning and her husband Robert, Kristin Burgess Clarke, Kerin Mase and her husband James, and Patricia Lachance and her husband Dominique. His grandchildren include Karla (Manning) Rosenfield, Karl and Katherine Clarke, Dominic and Taylor Lachance, Cyrus Mase, and two great-grandchildren, Dustin Rosenfield and Avangaliene Hilchey.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, May 9, at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. James Church in New Bedford.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. P.O. Box 1748, Vineyard Haven, MA. 02568 or Brigham and Women’s Hospital Development Office, 116 Huntington avenue, Boston, MA. 02116.