Ann C. Burdette
August 20, 1932 – May 15, 2022
Ann was born in Paris, Texas, to Maurice Cleaver and Helen Duncan Cleaver on August 20, 1932. She spent her childhood there until her family transferred to Manhasset, NY just in time for high school. The culture shock was real, but of course Ann excelled academically and made lots of friends whom she kept in touch with all her life. She attended college at Washington University in St. Louis where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and served as panhellenic president. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in Comparative Literature, which means she read Les Miserables in French. She married Charles M. Burdette in 1954 and they moved to Kansas City where their two sons were born. Over the next eleven years, they would move to Omaha, Danville, California, Honolulu, Hawaii, and back to Omaha. Ann always said she was glad she got to see so much of the world and especially loved living near an ocean, but once they returned to Omaha, she called it home and stayed the rest of her life. She loved her city: the Joslyn, the symphony, the zoo, the Lauritzen Gardens, the museums, the Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre, etc., but most of all she loved the dear, life-long friends she met here.
After her divorce, Ann returned to the work force as a real estate agent with CBS realty. John Gottschalk hired her to be his Administrative Assistant in 1984 and she spent the rest of her career in that position. Her work at the World Herald was satisfying in many ways. She felt challenged and appreciated and she cherished her colleagues there, especially John Gottschalk and his wife, Carmen, with whom she continued to work as a member of the John Gottschalk Foundation Board.
Ann traveled the world with her friends (mostly with Shirley Crites) though she was also willing to travel alone. She went to Greece, Israel, France, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Russia, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Alaska and probably a few other places we are forgetting. She enjoyed several elder hostel trips and a fabulous retirement tour of Washington D.C. Ann loved learning and never stopped being curious. Her vacations were never spent sitting on the beach. She remained a great student of everything. At the time of her death, she was in a poetry writing class at Pacific Springs where she lived independently. She relished beauty in all forms, loved games, and even beat two of her grandchildren in a Wordle while she was recently hospitalized. (The word was “foyer”).
Ann was an active member of Countryside Community Church for more than fifty years. She served in many roles through the years: Bethel Bible teacher, Stephen Minister, church clerk, historian, pastor search committee, and funeral volunteer. She was deeply proud of the church when it moved to the Tri-Faith Campus and especially loved classes about Judaism and Islam. More recently, she felt called to explore and confront racism as she gained new insights on that flaw in all our communities. Her faith never stopped evolving and she lived it every day.
Most important to all those who love Ann was her kind, loyal and loving heart. She traveled many miles to Kansas City and California through the years to attend her grandchildren’s activities and to really be present with each of them and know them well. She shared every possible holiday and always took time to listen in a way that made each of us feel deeply valued and loved by her. She showed up for celebrations, but she also showed up in the darkest of times. Her quiet, loving presence brought those she loved and cared for peace and great comfort. We are deeply saddened to lose her light in our lives and yet also deeply grateful to have had her influence.
Ann is survived by her sons, Duncan (Kathy) Burdette of Overland Park, KS, and Stuart (Shanlee) Burdette of Kona, HI; five grandchildren: Lauren, Dan, Eric, John, and Jack Burdette; her sister, Sara Green; former sister-in-law, Cheryl Burdette; and two nieces, Laura Green and Evin Wood. She was preceded in death by her beloved dog, Abby, and we are comforted by the thought of their reunion.
A Celebration of Ann’s life will be held on Thursday, June 9th at 1:00 pm at Countryside Community Church, 13130 Faith Plaza, Omaha, NE 68144. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Countryside Community Church.
To view a live broadcast of the Celebration of Life, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.