Florence Norah (Casey) Burghardt of Porgage died peacefully January 16, 2019 at Bickford Senior Living in Portage, MI of natural causes after a short illness. She was born October 7, 1922 in Detroit growing up during the Great Depression and became an adult in the midst of World War II. She graduated from St. Gabriel’s high School and then attended St. Mary’s Business College in 1942 and landed a job at General Motors headquarters in Detroit. She met her husband, Albert (Bud) through a friend (Albert’s Sister, Virginia) who she knew from the Catholic Youth Theater Organization. They married February 24, 1945 at St. Gabriel’s Church in Detroit while Albert was on leave from the US Navy Reserve. They raised five children together, first in Detroit and then in Berkeley, MI where her oldest children attended Shrine High School in Royal Oak, MI. Casey took great interest in her children’s education and served as the Mother’s Club President at Shrine High from 1962 to 1965. In 1965 the family moved to Portage, MI while her husband was establishing the Fisher Body Plant in Comstock. In Portage, the family was a member of St. Monica’s parish and her younger children attended St. Monica Elementary School. She volunteered in the St. Monica School Cafeteria then became school secretary from 1965 to 1989. As secretary, and unofficial school nurse, she bandaged countless minor wounds of the elementary school students and was widely appreciated by all for her kindness, good instincts about children, and common sense. Years after serving at St. Monica’s she was routinely recognized around town by former students who were affected by her generous spirit. Casey contributed to her community as a member of the Borgess Service League where she was involved in fund raising for the hospital and nursing school at Nazareth College from 1966 through 1992. After retiring from St. Monica’s, Casey continued to follow her lifelong interest in childhood education as literacy volunteer at the Sunset Lake Elementary School where her daughter was principal. She stayed active in St. Monica’s parish as a parishioner and volunteer and continued to meet former colleagues and friends from the parish for a regular Tuesday luncheon. Casey was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and Catholic. She had an unmeasurable impact on family and community because of her uniform fairness and generosity to all, devotion to the importance of education, and steadfast belief that we can do better by giving more and trying harder. She was preceded in death by her parents, James and Annie Maude (Lehey) Casey; husband, Albert Russell Burghardt; youngest son, Terrence “Terry” Burghardt; brothers, Eugene, Pete, and John Casey; sisters, Frances Vanneste, Therese Carney and Kathleen Payne. Surviving are her children, John (Elaine) Burghardt of Washington DC, Robert (Rebecca) Burghardt of College Station, TX, Pat (Paul) Moreno of Scotts, MI, Tom (Kati Ajtai) Burghardt of Mazeppa, MN; daughter-in-law, Dawn Burghardt of Mattawan; sister, Margaret Tagney of Royal Oak, MI; 11 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren. Friends will be received 5-8 pm Sunday January 20, 2019 at Redmond Funeral Home, Kalamazoo where a Rosary will be recited at 7:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 10:30 am Monday at St. Monica Catholic Church. Interment will be in Ft. Custer National Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
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