Sandra “Sandee” Shirley Burns (Nee: Smykowski) It is with profound sadness that the family of Sandee Burns announce her sudden passing on September 20th, just a month into 74 years. She will be lovingly remembered by her daughter Megan Burns of Savannah, Georgia (Joel Gulick) and her granddaughters Abigail and Vivian. Cousins include Mary Ocasio (the late William) of Arizona, Edward Smykowski of Arizona, and Joan Nelson (Robert) of California, along with extended family. Sandee will be dearly missed by her host of long time friends from a lifetime enjoyed in Chicago. Sandee was preceded in death by her husband, Steven M. Burns, and her parents, Lottie H. (nee Osiol) and Vincent J. Smykowski and cousins Ronnie and Ted “Sunny” Smykowski.
Sandee will be remembered most for her exceptional kindness. She loved, and was loved by, everyone she met. She never had a harsh word to share and was an exceptional friend. She always called loved ones on birthdays, special occasions and remembered them when they were ill. For many of Megan’s dearest friends, Sandee became a second mom - a shoulder to cry on, a confident, and someone who you could trust. You could count on Sandee to always be in your corner and be your biggest supporter. She called everyone “kid” and could whip up comfort food that was good for the soul like her Tuna Noodle Casserole and Hamburger Stroganoff that kept everyone fed with plenty of leftovers.
She was an exceptional “Noni” to her granddaughters and enjoyed every minute of hosting them for summers in Chicago, helping Abigail with her lemonade stands during Cubs games and dancing with Vivian to pre concert hype before concerts at Wrigley Field. She entertained their love of playdoh, took them on walks to the nearby playgrounds, to their first baseball games and trips to the Lincoln Park Zoo. She enjoyed visiting Savannah and being there for first birthdays, and Christmas’ and talking to her littlest “girls” daily on the phone to hear about happenings of newly started dance classes and visits from the tooth fairy.
Sandee was a hoot, the life of the party and always ready for a good time. You never quite knew what she was going to say next, but there wasn’t a conversation that didn’t include laughing…..then laughing till you cried… then more laughing and snorting along the way...and laughing till your sides hurt. She loved dancing and embraced all music that made you feel good from Motown, The Temptations, to Kool and the Gang to Cher, Michael Jackson and even the Backstreet Boys and Lady Gaga! She’d come to the party and start dancing before she could even get her coat off. Sandee brought such joy to those lucky enough to know her.
Sandee had a dear place in her heart all of her life for her dogs; from Candy the boxer as a child, later to DeeDee the Schanuzer, to her array of standard poodles like Megzie and Shamu to her multipoo Wrigley, who she deemed her “soulmate”. She was a loving animal mom to many, including her stray rescue Perdita and Megan’s ferrets (who were her least favorites). She brought her dogs for blessings on St. Francis feast days and knew nearby neighbors by their dogs’ names.
Sandee was a die hard Cubs fan - she loved them always, from their lovable losers days and into their current success. She was thrilled to catch the World Series and endlessly yelled during games. She busily hawked her garage spots to people driving in for a game and was sure to never miss watching the game or her beloved “Days of Our Lives” soap opera.
Sandee grew up on the South Side of Chicago in Gage Park. She attended St. Simons Elementary School and then Our Lady of Lourdes High School, where she met her pal Rita. Sandee then attended Northern Illinois University where she met Bev. She moved to the North Side in the mid 60s, after meeting Carole at Town and Country Bank. Sandee’s adventures with her dear friends in Lincoln Park, trips to Mexico and camping in the Midwest and out West were legendary. She married in 1976 at St. Andrew’s church and transitioned to family life in her beloved Wrigleyville where Sandee has lived for over 40 years. Even while the neighbor has undergone major gentrification over the years, Sandee remained an old fashion “neighbor.” You could count on Sandee to know the latest news in the neighborhood and keep an eye out for her friends.
Sandee engaged with everyone from the school crossing guard, the grocery store clerks, the corner bank tellers, the hardware store folks to even the new fancy restaurants on Southport. Everyone around the neighborhood knew Sandee. Her kind and joyful spirit and contagious laugh will be missed by many.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. at Cooney Funeral Home located at 3918 W. Irving Park Rd. in Chicago. (Social distancing will be observed and masks required) Funeral Wednesday, prayers at 10:30 a.m. to St. Andrew Catholic Church located at 3546 N. Paulina St. in Chicago for Mass at 11:00 a.m. Please register using the link provided http://www.standrew.org/funeral-for-sandra-burns/ Interment private. Flowers would be appreciated or donations can be made to the Anti Cruelty Society 510 N LaSalle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654, one of the many animal organizations Sandee supported. For information please call 773-588-5850 or visit www.cooneyfuneralhome.com
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The Anti-Cruelty Society
510 N LaSalle Dr, Chicago IL 60654