Memorial Contributions to:
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church Building Fund
740 Gladstone Dr SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
Valerie Anne Burhans, (98) of East Grand Rapids, beloved mother and grandmother, died and went to heaven to be with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Saturday, January 12, 2019, with her family at her side. Valerie was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. John Burhans; parents, Dr. Thomas and Winifred Egan; and brother Paul Egan. She is survived by her daughter Margaret (Anh) Be, grandson Nick (Erin) Be, great-grandchildren James and Penelope Be, granddaughter Heidi (Jake) Mucha, great-grandchildren Eleanor and Cecilia Mucha; daughter Marilyn (Ben) Schramski, grandson Matthew (Heather) Schramski, great-granddaughter Gabrielle Schramski, granddaughter Julie (Greg) Rivers, great-grandchildren Harrison, Grant, and Hazel Rivers; daughter Carol Crislip, granddaughter Jasmine (Michael) Mogren, grandsons Andon, Luke, and Gabriel Crislip; daughter Winnie Kelly, granddaughter Katie (Ben) Tutt, great-grandchildren Egan and Isabella Tutt, granddaughter Carissa Kelly, great-grandson Mason Fletcher, grandson Sean (Regina Kruglak) Kelly; son John (Robin) Burhans; son Earl Burhans and granddaughter Elizabeth (Eric) Rittenberry. Valerie was born on January 3, 1921, in Mapleton, Illinois, a small and lovely town, to Dr. Thomas and Winifred Egan. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 1942 with a degree in Journalism, after which she became a columnist for the Peoria Star Newspaper. She enjoyed the company of her children and grandchildren and was an intrepid globetrotter, traveling to many locations across six continents. Her zest for life and spirit of exploration were irrepressible. This was apparent on all occasions, such as during a hiking trip in the hills of Blasket Island in Ireland, where Valerie outpaced a son and two daughters, 30 years her junior. Her appreciation for the natural beauty of jagged cliffs and blue seas on this remote island were truly magical. This was one of countless such experiences, shared with many over the decades, that instilled in her family a bold spirit and love for exploring. Valerie enjoyed reading the New York Times (quite often out loud) with enthusiasm, joining her fellow journalists on their quest to probe all facets of life, from art to politics. It was a pleasure and joy to be her audience as she recited the written word, which she treasured and valued in all its forms. She could play the piano by ear, and her musical passions extended to supporting the arts, including the symphony, ballet, and opera. Valerie frequently opened her home to visiting opera singers and musicians, with whom she loved exchanging tales of adventures and exploits from across the world. As a long-time, active member of Saint Stephens Catholic Church, Valerie was a faithful prayer warrior for her family, members of the Church, and many others. The foundation of her life was an enduring faith in Jesus Christ, which gave her immense peace and joy. Her compassion led her to volunteer regularly for Dégagé Ministries, an organization that feeds, clothes, and shelters members of the community lacking resources. Valerie always attributed her long life to riding horses, a notion which she reminded her children, grandchildren and friends of on many occasions. Her wish was to encourage everyone who attends her service to celebrate her with colorful attire and a cheerful gathering to share our memories of her extraordinary life together. Visitation is Friday, January 18 from 5-8 PM and, as requested by Valerie, a Rosary will be prayed, at 5 PM at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, January 19 at 11 AM at Immaculate Heart of Mary, 1935 Plymouth Ave, SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 with visitation one hour prior to mass. Rev. Scott Nolan presiding. Interment Woodlawn Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Valerie’s honor to St. Stephen’s Catholic Church Building Fund, 740 Gladstone Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506.