Paula Burnham Simonich, Age :69
Jul 24,1950---Jun 13,2020

Paula Burnham Simonich, 69, of Kansas City, KS passed away June 13, 2020 at the Simonich Family home surrounded by her dedicated husband of 40 years and her immediate family. Paula was a lifelong resident of Kansas City, KS. She is the eldest daughter of Paul and Pauline Burnhan, step-daughter to John Klempnauer.


She was educated in the Kansas City, KS public school system and graduated from Washington High School in 1968. As a lifelong learner, her passion and value of education instilled a drive in her to pursue several advanced degrees beginning in the fall of 1968 at Bethany College in Lindsborg, KS. Her calling of service to others quickly led her to put her days as a Fighting Swede on hold as she enrolled at St. Francis School of Nursing in Wichita, KS, where she earned her Registered Nursing Degree in 1972. Her love of Lindsborg, KS and Bethany College drove Paula to return to Little Sweden, USA to finish her Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education in 1974 earning her a coviented position on the Bethany College Alumni board. She then went on to earn a Masters Degree in Business from Central Michigan University in 1988.


Paula was the first female Chief Officer of the Kansas City, KS Fire Department. She was the Assistant Chief of the Department’s Training Division. She was also a dedicated member of the KARE Ambulance team that served KCK for more than 30 years. Her calling of helping others before herself paved the way for her impeccable, historic tenure within the KCKFD where she proudly served for 35 years before her retirement in 2009. Her nursing career lasted for 43 years at a variety of hospitals in the Kansas City area, including Bethany Hospital and KU Medical Center where she retired in 2014.


Paula was a woman who was deeply rooted in her Lutheran Faith. She was a pivotal member of Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Kansas City, MO. She took an active role in the Women of the ELCA organization, Sunday School instruction, Immanuel Lutheran Church Building Fund and various other commitments requested upon her to serve her beloved Immanuel.


In addition to her faith based community service, she never missed an opportunity to support women. She was a longtime supporter of the Junior League of Johnson and Wyandotte counties helping to encourage and improve the quality of life for women, children and families within her community. She could often be found dancing the night away and singing her favorite Abba song, "Dancing Queen", while helping to support one of her favorite events, the Community Ball and Cotillion.


She leaves her devoted and loving husband Raymond; her three sons Eric and his wife Keri (Aiden, Garrett and Connor) of Omaha, NE; Paul and his wife Emily (Clark and Addison) of Kansas City, KS; and Justin and his wife Elizabeth (Luke) of Kansas City, KS. She also leaves behind her sister Karla Hubbard of Tulsa, OK; aunt and godmother Helen Gianakon of Kansas City, KS and aunt Cela Kaiser, of Kansas City, KS; sister-in-laws, Sandy Simonich of Overland Park, KS and Donna Severance of Mission, KS; and brother-in-law, Frank Simonich of Mission, KS. She was preceded in death by her father, Paul Lewis Burnham; mother, Pauline (Kaiser) Burnham; step-father, John Klempnauer; brother-in-law, Dave Hubbard, father-in-law, Frank A. Simonich; mother-in-law, Catherine M. Simonich; and sister-in-law, Judy Simonich.


At her request, in lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials in her name to Immanuel Lutheran Church or Bethany College.


She touched the lives of so many and made a friend wherever she journeyed. There wasn’t a conversation, a piece of potica or a coffee she couldn’t find. Like her mother, Pauline, she always had a warm smile, honest opinion, a warrior's spirit, was a gracious host, amazing cook, devoted friend, fabulous mom and the WORLD’S BEST Farmor to her six grandchildren.


"Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; love more, and all good things will be yours.


Swedish Proverb.


Public visitation, Thursday June 18, from 3:00 -7:00 pm at Porter Funeral Home, 1835 Minnesota Ave, Kansas City, KS 66102. The funeral service will be private.



Burial will be Monday, June 22, 2020 beginning at 10:00 am at Leavenworth National Cemetery.


State and local COVID -19 Directed Health Measures will be strictly enforced during the visitation.









Micheal Mahoney Jun 15 ,2020

Daughter-in-law Keri’s father ,Kansas City ,Missouri

Paula was a delight to know. Her laughter and her motherly skills were on display constantly over the years I grew to know and appreciate her. I am forever grateful for the way she so warmly embraced my daughter, and to some extent my wife Linda and I into her family and large group of friends. She made the world a better place for many of us. May God hold her in the palm of His hand. Most Sincerely, Micheal and Linda Mahoney

Carolyn Bauer Jun 15 ,2020

Women of the ELCA, Central States Synod ,Sedalia ,Missouri

I always looked forward to seeing Paula at our Synod Conventions. And, it was nice to see you, her family, at some of the conventions. She will be missed by all. May the love of God and family and friends help you through this difficult time.

Lorene and Bill Schaudt Jun 15 ,2020

Friend ,Beverly Shores ,Indiana

I first met Paula at Bethany College where she lived in a room across the hall. We became great friends and sorority sisters and she was a bridesmaid in my wedding. We didn’t see each other often after college but when we did it felt as if time had stood still in many ways. What a wonderful caring person! I’m so sorry for your loss.

Denny Robinson Jun 15 ,2020

Co worker ,Kansas city ,Kansas

Sorry for the loss of chief paula. She had a big laugh that could be heard throughout the training room. She was always tough but fair and had that mother's touch. Her wisdom and knowledge have been passed down to many classes of fire fighters and her legacy will live through us.

Jan Clark Jun 15 ,2020

Bethany College sorority sister ,Salina ,Kansas

Please accept my deepest sympathy. Paula was a jewel, always with a ready smile. While we both lived on 2nd floor of ASH her freshman year, she convinced me I could sew her a special dress of was finished finally & she was happy. May your faith keep you comforted.

Judy Johnson Jun 16 ,2020

neighbor ,Mission ,Kansas

Got to know Paula the day we moved in to Welstone because she saw our red Dala horse and came to our door immediately. We had talks of her church because that is where my husband and his whole family belonged. We had a party of Swedish things and food. Of course she did all the cooking and work. All who new her loved her. Prayers for Ray and all of her Family. Judy

Katy Sheehan Morris Jun 16 ,2020

Friend ,Kansas City ,Missouri

Paula was always a dear, bright presence whenever she entered a room. My sister Molly and I always treasured a visit from her in our Irish import shop when she would spoil her daughter-in-law and grandchildren with Irish outfits and giftware. We were delighted to know her and send Heartfelt prayers and wishes to all of her family & friends she has left behind.

Vicki and Steve Swanson Jun 16 ,2020

Friends ,Kansas City

Paula was a dear friend. We’re so glad she and Raymond were able to come to our house for a reunion last fall. We will sadly miss her beautiful smile and her warm, generous personality,

Mary Chance Jun 16 ,2020

friend ,Gilman City ,Missouri

My condolences to the family. I first met Paula in the med 70's at Bethany Hospital in KCK. She and I did KARE training when the first Paramedics hit the streets Paula and I shared a lot of laughs over the years as I continued ER nursing and she became Fire Chief and did training. Paula was a truly good person, so intelligent, and a great teacher. She always had time to speak and share news with me and everyone she met. She was genuine and caring. . .

Kathy Serrano Jun 16 ,2020

Friend ,Lenexa ,Kansas

I am so sorry to hear of Paula’s passing. Prayers of comfort being sent. May she Rest In Peace.

Bernice Bunny Prediger Jun 16 ,2020

Friend ,Mission ,Kansas

I was privileged to know Paula for the three years we both lived at The Welstone Independent Living in Mission, KS. Although she belonged to the Lutheran church and I to the Baptist, we shared a love for the church services and Bible studies here at The Welstone. Paula's comments were always very good and I looked forward to her being at Bible Study, although all too often, she was unable to come due to health problems. She will be sadly missed by all her friends here at The Welstone. Our love and prayers to her husband, Ray, and to all her family. Bunny

MaryJo Moore Jun 18 ,2020

Church Member ,Independence ,Missouri

I got to know Paula through membership at Immanuel Lutheran Church. She participated actively in the life and mission of our congregation and was looked up to and with high regard for her steadfast faith, ready smile, helping hand, thoughtful discourse, good humor, and generous spirit. Paula was a rock to her family and a pillar of Immanuel. She will be missed!

Maria Ramirez Jun 18 ,2020

Housekeeper at the welstone ,Kansa City ,Kansas

Paula, I’m going to miss you but I know that you’re not in pain anymore. I’m going to miss when we spoke every time I cleaned your apartment. Your grand children were so lucky to have a grandma like you, you always told me something about them. A hug for the whole family.

Erin Gabert Jun 19 ,2020

Friend ,Kansas City

It’s funny, I can’t say I remember the first time I met Paula. That’s probably because she was the kind of woman who made you feel like family the moment she met you. As one of Keri’s friends she treated me, and all of us as if we were her daughters too. She was kind, loving, funny, generous and so much more to all who knew her. I will miss her sweet comments on my Facebook pictures and the times I would get to see her in person but I know her beautiful family will continue to carry out her legacy of love and acceptance no matter who you are. ❤️

Porter Funeral Home
1835 Minnesota Ave.
Kansas City
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Jun 18 ,2020
3:00 PM
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