Kathleen “Kathy” Burns

February 26, 2024

Kathleen “Kathy” Burns was born December 17, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois. She passed away peacefully with family at bedside on January 21, 2024 after losing her short battle with cancer. Kathy was only 74 years of age.

Kathy is survived by her daughter, Angela “Angie” Hamel and her husband Darryl, mother, Frances Burns, brother’s Thomas, Kevin, Bryan and his wife, Roxann and their children, as well as numerous cousins and many wonderful friends and extended family members. Kathy was predeceased by her father, Charles Burns and her three lovely cats; Minga, Madeline and Moxxee.
As a teenage girl in the 1960s, Kathy excitedly welcomed the cultural phenomenon known as the “British Invasion”. Spending hours dancing and singing along with her Beatles, Zombies, Herman’s Hermits, Animals and Petula Clark records in the basement of her childhood home on the south side of Chicago. Never one to shy away from the latest fashions, she briefly embraced the hairstyles of the times like beehives, bobs and bouffants.

Kathy graduated from Gage Park High School in 1967 and immediately went to work at a job she grew to love; the Federal Bureau of Investigation. At only 17 years old, she knew this is where she was meant to be, leaving only briefly in 1974 to give birth to her daughter. She returned in the mid-80s and worked until retirement in 2015, amassing 36 years of federal employment. There, she developed friendships that would endure for the remainder of her life. Kathy loved the hustle and bustle of city life and was thrilled to live in a high-rise overlooking the breathtaking views of downtown’s city lights which she loved so much.

Never one for sports, Kathy joked that if shopping ever became an Olympic sport, she’d easily take the gold. After purchasing her condominium in 2015, Kathy took to the stores to appoint her place in what she referred to as Halloween-chic, surrounding herself in tasteful skeletons, skulls, monsters and snakes. The place was uniquely-Kathy.

Over the years, Kathy developed a reputation as somewhat of a magician, having the ability to produce just the right greeting card for any circumstance, event or occasion with only a moment’s notice. If you won a pie eating contest…card, your fish had a birthday…card, your house was painted…card, knee replacement…card. It was nothing short of astonishing.

A born practical jokester, we thought Kathy might consider a new hobby after placing a life-like rubber spider on the sleeve of a sleeping man sitting in front of her on the bus. When he awoke, she pointed at the creature and the man leapt out of his seat, banged his head on the ceiling, all while screaming at the top of his lungs like the wet-bandit from the Home Alone movie…it only encouraged her further.

When Kathy fell ill, the kindness she had shown others came back tenfold. Friends and neighbors lifted her with presents, letters, meals, rides to medical appointments and daily visits at the condominium. She cherished the warm embrace of friends and found comfort whenever surrounded by conversation, laughter or the re-telling of practical jokes she had played on unsuspecting victims over the years.

Kathy was an exemplary mother and human being. She embodied the best of qualities: unconditional love, strength of spirit, and an unending generosity that could be seen in her care for her mother, daughter, and countless others.

To merely say that Kathy cared deeply for the earth and the creatures that inhabit it would be a monumental understatement, she delighted at any opportunity to feed wild birds, pond fish, feral cats or squirrels. It’s safe to say cats were her absolute favorite animal, always looking forward to Fauna’s visits from across the hall after her own cat passed away. When not out in nature or snuggling a kitty, Kathy loved attending performances from The Blue Man Group to Barry Manilow concerts and almost everything in between.
Even at the end she found a way to smile and laugh while listening to her FBI friends’ recollections of her rather diabolical gags that she had played on them. Kathy will be remembered for her wild practical jokes, her numerous friendships, her love of animals and her fervor for life and all its opportunity.

We love you Kathy.

In lieu of sympathy gifts, donations may be made to Young at Heart Senior Pet Adoptions or your favorite animal charity.
A celebration of life will be held for Kathy from 4:00 to 8:00PM on Saturday, 02 March, 2024 at Cappetta’s West Suburban Funeral Home located at 4920 Main Street, Downers Grove IL 60515.
We welcome the sharing of stories or memories following a short service beginning at 7:00PM.
Food will be available in the reception room adjacent to the chapel.