GENEVA – Ann Burns, mother of Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns, was a mover and a shaker in the town nearly as soon as the family moved to the Pepper Valley subdivision in 1974.
She and her late husband, John, helped with local referendum efforts, co-founded the Geneva Vikings All Sports Booster Club, served on the Geneva High School Prom & Post Prom Committee and served as a member of the Plan Commission.
Ann Burns, 81, died May 3. A celebration of her life is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the The Herrington Inn & Spa’s Pump House Room, 15 S. River Lane, Geneva.
“Her and my dad – their message was the best way to embrace a new community is to get involved in it and they did it through example and taught all of us how valuable that lesson is,” Kevin Burns said of himself and his siblings, John, Brian and Colleen. “It was a matter of course for them. If there was an opportunity for volunteering, you raise your hand and say, ‘What can do to help?’”
Kevin Burns said while growing up, he could remember their garage always filled with stuff for the Booster Club sales – such as hot dogs, chips and sodas for the concession stand at Burgess Field.
“They were in charge of the concession stand – they helped build the original concession stand at Burgess Field,” he said. “During Swedish Days, the Boosters had their own booth and all their stuff was stored there (in the garage). It was always a busy time on North Northampton Drive.”
Ann Burns’ lung cancer diagnosis happened by accident, on Feb. 11 when she was heading to Geneva High School for the inductees to the All Sports Booster Club Hall of Fame, he said.
“Walking into the gym, she slipped on the ice and fell. We took her to the ER for a nine-hour wait,” Kevin Burns said. “Additional testing showed there was something more than a fall.”
She had a lot of friends who had had experienced cancer, and her late husband, John Burns, who died in 2019, was a cancer survivor.
“She knew what the future held,” Kevin Burns said. “She shared her decision with all her kids that there would be no chemo, no extraordinary treatments made. She would live her final days as she did her 81 years – in charge and at the helm.”
The family rallied to make her as comfortable as possible at her condo in Geneva. Her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren came to visit, he said.
“She did not want to be subjected to anything overly burdensome to us or over-taxing to her,” Kevin Burns said. “My mom was very direct in her positions. This position here is what we’re going to do and how we’re going to celebrate … with a party at the Herrington and all her favorite music from the ‘50s and ‘60s.”
In continuing Ann Burns’ devotion to the Geneva Vikings All Sports Booster Club, in lieu of flowers, memorials can be made through genevasportsbooster.com or sending a contribution to Geneva Community High School Athletics Department, 416 McKinley Ave., Geneva, IL 60134.
The Geneva flag was lowered to half-staff to honor Ann Burns.