Mitzi Rae Burns, 81
Mitzi Rae Burns, born Nov. 4, 1936, joyously entered the gates of heaven on June 4, 2018.
Mitzi was the second to the last of seven children born to Millard Filmore Burns and Della Mae Burns, in Beggs, Okla., during the closing years of the Great Depression. The values and ethics of those times were somehow imprinted on her and she never truly left them behind.
The family moved to California in the first years of the Second World War, and Mitzi lived there raising her own family before moving to Idaho in 1976.
She loved the Lord, her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was an active member of the Life Way Chapel, in Post Falls, Idaho, for over 30 years. Her faith in God was a constant source of strength and something she shared freely with not only her family, but her friends. There was no problem so big it couldn’t be answered with Scripture, a cup of good strong coffee and a homemade treat of some kind.
In her middle age Mitzi decided she wanted to do something more to help others, so she went back to school at North Idaho College and received a degree as a mental health specialist. She was employed by Kootenai Medical Center for almost 20 years in the behavioral health unit. She earned the respect of not just her colleagues, but of the people she tried so hard to help. Her children used to joke that after raising all of them she missed the bedlam so she sought out a career where she could use her “mom chops” and get paid to do it. Truly she was a force of nature, and until Alzheimer’s robbed her of her memory, a dynamic and charismatic woman of great faith, love and humility.
Gardening was another activity she enjoyed. She shared her green thumb with her children, grandchildren, and even the great-grandkids have all been out in the garden with “Granny Mitzi,” pulling weeds, picking rocks, and of course, strawberries and blueberries; the later served up with a spoonful of sugar and cream, or made into a pie or cobbler.
Another of Mitzi’s passions was home food preservation and cooking. She taught her daughters and granddaughters the art of putting up their own fruits and veggies, the fine art of pie crust building and making cobblers. Every year several trips to Carver Farms were arranged, with multiple generations picking tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, raspberries and buying peaches. Countless hours were spent peeling, sweating, steaming, boiling and eating; sticky fingers, floors and stickier great-grandchildren were all part of the process. So much laughter with instruction in food, life and Scripture went on around Mitzi’s kitchen and the dining room table. In good times and in bad, she could be relied upon to give wise and sometimes, pithy counsel.
Mitzi was a renowned home cook. None of her family or friends can talk about her without mentioning their favorite foods she prepared with such love; chili verde, pinto beans with ham hocks, collards and cornbread. Pineapple upside-down cake was a multi-generational birthday request. Her fried chicken, biscuits, and “roast of beast” are the stuff of legend. Her Oklahoma roots definitely came out in her cooking and there was always, always, enough for one more person (or two, or three) at the table.
Her door and her home were perpetually open to anyone who needed a bit of help, advice or just some time to pray.
Mitzi was preceded in death by her parents, Millard and Della Burns and her siblings, Jack and H.C. “Hank” Burns, Juanita McCulloch and Joann Trammell. Mitzi’s youngest daughter, Holly Kesler and one grandson, Jeremi Bullard, also awaited her in heaven.
She is survived by her sisters, Irene Lancendorfer of Isleton, Calif. and Billey McPherson of Fort Jones, Calif.; her daughter, Sherry (Glen) Bullard-Blanchard of Dallas, Ore.; son, Dennis (Paula) Bullard of Clarkston, Wash.; daughter, April (Robert) Bumbaugh of Post Falls and son, William Sipes of Sumner, Wash.
Mitzi was proud to tell anyone that she had eight noisy, but pretty good looking grandchildren, and 12 even noisier, possibly better looking great-grandchildren; also numerous nieces and nephews, a big church family, and long-time friends, co-workers, and neighbors, who she loved and prayed for.
Mitzi would want you all to know that she was ready to go home and longed to see her family that awaited her. Her faith in a loving God and in his salvation never left her, even as her memory faded.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill all his promises to her.” — Luke 1:45.
Mitzi’s memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 23, 2018, with a brunch to follow, at Lifeway Chapel, located at 501 W. 15th Ave, Post Falls ID 83854.
English Funeral Chapel, Post Falls has been entrusted with her arrangements. Please sign Mitzi’s online memorial at www.englishfuneralchapel.com.