Lori’s Life Story
Generous and kind, hilarious and silly, patient and sincere, Lori Lynette Burlingame lived whole-heartedly. A woman whose love for others knew no bounds, Lori was a devoted mother, daughter, sister, partner and friend to many. With an infectious smile, an unwavering sense of service to others, and a compassionate heart, Lori welcomed everyone, gave much, and touched many. Though our time with Lori was far too short, the overwhelming sense of her love will continue to fill our hearts and lives forever.
Lori spent much of her childhood with her mother and stepfather Polly and William Bakkila and sister Lisa living in the state of Michigan. One of the highlights of each summer would be when she and her sister made their annual visit to the ruggedly beautiful state of Oregon to spend time with their father David Burlingame. Lori often talked about the beauty of Oregon and her wishes to once again visit.
Growing up the younger of the two siblings didn’t stop Lori from taking on a nurturing role from an early age. Lori possessed an innate desire to help and care for others. When Lori’s family lived in Ashland, Oregon Polly took care of several very young children. Even as a 4 year old, Lori would help her mother change diapers, care for and potty train the younger children.
After the family moved back to Michigan, Lori still helped care for others while also participating in pathfinders, piano recitals and tending to her schooling.One of her fondest childhood memories was going to her grandma and grandpa Grover’s house and being able to spend time on their farm, she especially loved the goats. Lori also enjoyed spending time with her friends, she loved going to camp Au Sable and would often tell her children of the wonderful stories she had about camp. One of Lori’s classmates at Kalamazoo Junior Academy (KJA) remembers Lori as being one of her dearest friends, saying that the light and laughter that Lori brought into her life was constant, and that Lori welcomed and included her like no one else had at KJA.
Lori graduated high school from Battle Creek Academy in 1993 after creating many fond memories and making lifelong friendships. She went on to study healthcare at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI for a short time. Berrien Springs was a special place dear to Lori’s heart as that was where her beloved grandparents Ruth and Leroy Burlingame lived, later in life Lori would return to Berrien Springs to raise her children.
Lori’s first job working in the healthcare field was at a nursing home. She would often tell stories about the joy she got from working with these patients. It was during this time that Lori met her life partner of over 20 years, Kyle, and welcomed two ‘bonus’ kids into her life, Kyle’s children; Heather and Heath. In 1996, Lori and Kyle welcomed Brianna Jane into their lives followed two short years later by Jeremy. The picture was completed in 2006 when Natalie joined the family. The couple raised their children together and it was during this time that Lori realized that her true calling in life was to be a mom.
Lori dedicated her life to each and every one of her children. She relished in motherhood and enthusiastically decided to fully devote herself to her family. Although Lori was a mother to 3, she had many more who considered as well as called her Mom.
Lori embraced her role as mother with both joy and determination. She devoted much of her time and effort to the care of her children. They spent countless hours growing up listening to her sing, joke and tell stories. Some of their fondest memories of their mom are of her helping them with homework, cooking dinners, and always making them laugh. Love and laughter were always a part of their home. Lori did anything and everything to give her children the best in life.
For those who know Lori well, you know that she has a love of journaling and list making. She viewed it as therapeutic to write memories and events down. Lori left behind countless journals and notebooks. In one notebook, Lori lists the happiest moments of her life and it should come as no surprise that welcoming her children into the world took the top spot.
As her children grew older, Lori was able to offer her loving and caring nature in service to others. She worked for a time at a nonprofit organization that focused on rehabilitating those who had been incarcerated. Their mission was to give people who needed it most, a second chance.
Other times you could find Lori volunteering at a food pantry preparing food boxes for families in need. Her children recall one Christmas where she donated her time by wrapping gifts for children who wouldn’t have otherwise received any. Lori had a kind and generous heart, she didn’t love people in spite of their past struggles and mistakes, but she loved them because their past struggles and mistakes shaped them into who they were. She acted as a counselor to many, often offering advice or simply was there to listen. She never knew a stranger and had the ability to make anyone a friend.
The simple pleasure of spending time with and caring for others was Lori’s heart’s delight. Spending time with her family and relaxing from the daily hustle was a treasured gift. Spending time at the beach with family, singing, making crafts, listening to music, cooking for her family, and the sound of laughter were Lori’s favorite things and being with those she loved her greatest joy. Lori felt tremendously blessed to share such special moments connecting with her family.
Never was Lori’s resolve more clear than in response to the struggles and challenges that life threw her way. Regardless of the obstacles she faced, Lori remained optimistic and hopeful when faced with a challenge. She was determined to live life to the fullest and find joy in every single moment.
Without a doubt, Lori taught her children the true meaning of courage; choosing to live each moment centered in love and hope regardless of fear. A safe harbor for all, she taught by example what it is to truly give from the heart and care for others as they need to be cared for. We are all better people for having had Lori’s loving example in our lives.
The world is significantly duller in the absence of Lori’s vibrant light. May it afford you deep comfort to lean into Lori’s mantra, “Give love freely, remember to take time for yourself, and be kind to unkind people - they often need it the most” May we also find the courage to carry Lori’s legacy of embracing each person and every day as a gift. With every kindness we extend to another, every word of hope and love spoken and every fearless step we take, we keep Lori’s bright spirit alive in our hearts, where it will continue to emanate and inspire others.
Friday, March 26, 2021
11:00am - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)
Friday, March 26, 2021
Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)