Published in the Columbia Daily Tribune Thursday, December 16, 2010
Helen Louise (Smith) Burnham, 57, passed away Monday, Dec. 13, 2010, at her home in Columbia due to complications associated with pancreatic cancer. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21, at the Missouri United Methodist Church. A visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Parker Funeral Service.
Helen was born Jan. 4, 1953, in Iowa City, Iowa, to Dr. J. Ned and Mary D. Smith. She married William J. Burnham on Aug. 18, 1973, in Columbia. Helen grew up in Columbia and graduated in 1971 from Hickman High School. She received a bachelor’s degree in social work in 1976 from the University of Missouri. She was a social worker with the Visiting Nurses, Boone County Health Department, Ronald McDonald House and most recently a bereavement social worker for Missouri River Hospice. She was dedicated to her patients and clients, working diligently to create better lives for them and their families. She also taught a weekly Weight Watchers class for more than 25 years. She considered her most important work to be her roles as mother, wife and homemaker. She enjoyed flower gardening, creating a beautiful home, cooking, participating in her King’s Daughters circle (Atkins-Hubble-McRoberts), photography, swimming laps and relaxing at Southwest Swim Club, and traveling with her husband, children and friends. She was a devoted wife, mother, daughter and friend. She is survived by husband, Bill Burnham; son Morgan Burnham and his wife, Emily Bach, of Columbia; daughter Emily Burnham of Denver; daughter Katie Burnham Wilkins and her husband, Marcus Wilkins, of Columbia; and son Spencer Burnham of Denver. She is also survived by her mother, Mary D. Smith of Columbia; and her brother, Bruce Smith, and his wife, Shelley Smith, and daughters Lauren and Allyson Smith of Austin, Texas. She was preceded in death by her father, Dr. J. Ned Smith; and daughter Nora Burnham. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the King’s Daughters Dental Aid Program at P.O. Box 30832, Columbia, Mo., 65205-3832; Rainbow House at 1611 Town Drive, Columbia, Mo., 65203; or Pancreatic Cancer Action Network at 1500 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 90266.