After an amazing but too short life, Kelly (Kellen) Kay O'Sheeran Burns of Monroe lost her long-running battle against cancer on April 17, 2014. She died surrounded by her loving family.
Kelly was born August 27, 1955 in Calexico, California. She grew up in Colorado and never lost her love of the mountain west. Her family moved to western Wisconsin and she graduated from Plum City High School in 1973. She attended the University of Wisconsin-River from 1973 to 1975.
While there, she earned a varsity letter in field hockey, ran for homecoming court and met her future husband.
Kelly and her husband-to-be transferred to the University of Montana in Missoula in 1975. She graduated with a B.S. degree in Zoology in 1977. She and Tim were married in Missoula on September 3, 1977. Brendan was born in 1978. In 1979 the family moved back to Wisconsin where she worked as a collection agent for St. Paul Savings & Loan while Tim finished college. After a brief time on the Burns family farm in Campbellsport the family again moved in 1981, this time to Colorado where she worked a variety of jobs while Tim attended law school.
Colin was born in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1983. In 1988, Kelly earned her black belt from Karate West in Fort Collins. Morgan was born in 1989. Besides her full-time job, Kelly taught part-time at Karate West. She was on the board of directors for Templed Hills Camp and Retreat Center in Woodland Park, Colorado for several years.
In 1991 the family moved to Monroe, Wisconsin. Kelly worked as a child support worker at the Rock County Courthouse in Beloit, but after finding a bullet hole in her car found work as a secretary at Monroe Junior High School. While there, she took classes at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville to pursue her longtime goal of becoming a science teacher. She became a science teacher at Monroe High School in 1997. Kelly acted as head of the science department for several years. Kelly traveled with the Monroe High School Spanish language exchange to Costa Rica as a chaperone 7 times, making a number of long-term friends in that country. She became certified as a swim meet official and judged meets for several years. She was coach of the cheerleading squad for wrestling. She continued to teach at the high school while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, working until just before Christmas, 2013, when she underwent major cancer surgery. She continued to fight and intended to return to teaching until she went through emergency surgery in March 2014, after which she finally conceded that she had to retire.
Kelly enjoyed kayaking, swimming, bicycling and hiking before hip problems prevented her participation in those activities. She was as comfortable in the water as on land. She loved nature and the outdoors, gardening, reading and traveling. Family vacations generally involved camping in one of the wonderful state parks of Wisconsin. She also enjoyed quilting and sewing with her friends.
She is survived by her husband Tim and her three wonderful children, Brendan (Nicole), Colin and Morgan (Randy) Hasler, and one grandchild, Liam, with whom she had a very special bond and with whom she spent many wonderful days. She is also survived by stepmother Michaela Collins, brothers Shane O'Sheeran and Chris Conrad, sisters Chandra Sherin and Gina Facchinello, and nieces Katrina O'Sheeran, Michaela Facchinello and Samara Sherin.
Kelly was an enthusiastic supporter of all of her children's activities, whether football, wrestling, swimming, cheerleading, or anything else. Anyone who knew her knew not to sit in front of her at a game, as the "blast zone" from her enthusiastic cheering was not a comfortable place to be. She made friends with ease and worked hard to maintain her friendships. She loved children and opened her home to the friends of her children at any time. Everyone who knew her benefited from her constant upbeat, cheerful and optimistic manner. Her smile and her laugh which would light up a room will not be forgotten.
Kelly lived life to the fullest, and touched the lives of thousands through her teaching and volunteer service. She was a strong believer and advocate for the benefits of education and the potential of each of her students. She demanded that her students learn to think, not just memorize. She was the joint-president of the teachers union for several years. She was apolitical most of her life, but in recent years political decisions in Wisconsin that affected teachers and schools brought her into an active role in politics.
During her last months Kelly enjoyed a steady stream of friends visiting and providing meals, flowers and conversation. Her family thanks everyone for everything they did to make her time with us better. Kelly's joy of life was her family, her friends and her work. She asked that people not mourn her passing, but celebrate her life.
A Celebration of Life will be held on a date to be announced. The family asks that no flowers be sent. A memorial fund in Kelly's name has been established at Wisconsin Bank and Trust in Monroe.
Posted: Monday, April 21, 2014
Article comment by:
To my dear dear friend, you will sadly be missed, but, never forgotten. My world is better because you touched my life and I thank you for coming into it!! You have a rock to so many, your spirit and gusto for life will live on and on!!! You were my older sister that I didn't have and I thank you so much for being there in my life!! Rest in peace my dear sweet sister, a very well deserved rest. Thank God for our Goddess Kelly, Jenell Shippy