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Andrea Kae Burgart, 37

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Andrea Kae Burgart, age 37 of New Hampton, passed away peacefully Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023, at her home surrounded by her family.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, at Holy Family Parish in New Hampton with the Rev. James Goerend celebrating the Mass.

Interment will follow at Calvary Cemetery in New Hampton.

Friends may greet the family from 3 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 27, 2023, at Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton. Visitation continues an hour prior to the Mass on Tuesday at the church.

In lieu of flowers or plants, Andrea shared her wishes for balloon bouquets — symbolic for her girls and all of us that they will carry her to her heavenly home — or for donations to Cedar Valley Hospice, a place where Andrea was passionate about the work she did for a non-profit organization that serves our community.

Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. Hummingbirds open our eyes to the wonder of the world and inspire us to open our hearts to loved ones and friends. Like a hummingbird, we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy of everyday. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning, and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation. ― Anonymous

Andrea was born to Edward and Sandra Shekleton, eighth child of nine (Linn, Christine, Daniel, Richard, Edward Jr., Jean, Robert and Jason).

She lived life to the fullest, savoring each moment and embracing all that it has to offer. Andrea went skydiving after high school graduation, bungee jumped in South Korea, ran a marathon, parasailed in Clearwater, just to name a few adventures.

She also married her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, Gerry Burgart on Sept. 21, 2013, had two beautiful daughters, Ruby and Isla, whom she loved and cherished with all her might, filled her parents and siblings’ hearts with overflowing love and laughter, and touched the lives of her friends, co-workers, community and so many patients and their families during her a career as a hospice and oncology nurse. She was so very accomplished in her short time here with all of us. Andrea has left a legacy of compassion, selflessness, and joy with every personal connection she made and is truly an inspiration to all.

Not only did Andrea live with cancer, but her entire family did as well. She believed she didn’t win or lose her battle with cancer.

As Andrea put it, she “just tried to embrace the next set of 10 minutes fully, every consecutive 10 minutes at a time” to keep moving forward and celebrate the joy of everyday.

This diagnosis shaped her life into the person God meant for her to be and was reflected in each choice she made in life, what was meaningful to her, and the patients she cared for. She knew God had a chosen path for her, so she always made sure to follow her heart.

Along her journey, Andrea graduated from college with a degree in finance but shortly after decided to pursue a degree in nursing, for which she proudly graduated with honors. She studied so diligently during nursing school that she even developed a stomach ulcer, which she admits could have been from all the coffee and energy drinks she consumed.

For fun during her late-night studying, she made it her personal mission to try every new Oreo flavor and she tried A LOT, but birthday cake always remained her favorite!

Andrea’s journey of starting a family began with marrying her best friend and high school sweetheart, Gerry. Together they were blessed with two beautiful, smart and spunky daughters, Ruby and Isla. Andrea cared deeply for her family. During her grief for the loss of future she had expected with them, her biggest concern was first and foremost that they would always be cared for and supported when she was no longer here to do it herself.

During Andrea’s career she was passionately driven and highly accomplished as a nurse in oncology at Mayo Clinic and hospice in Cedar Valley-Waverly. It became a source of therapy for Andrea to work in oncology and care for patients and their families who were also going through their cancer journey.

Her work enabled her to connect with them, as she could relate to their experiences, feelings, and fears. This sense of passion, as well as a desire to work closer to home to be able to spend more time with her growing family, led Andrea to becoming a hospice nurse. She saw first-hand the challenges her patients experienced every day, and she did everything in her power to comfort and care for them.

She also made it her mission to bring a little joy and personal connection into her patients’ lives, whether it was coffee and donuts on a weekend visit, truffles for a birthday, pat on a foot before leaving their home, or saying a prayer as she held their hand during the last days or sometimes last breaths.

It was during these vulnerable moments that Andrea realized her career as a hospice nurse was God’s calling in her life. She learned every death is a pivotal moment in each person’s life and it is just as important as the moment we are born. It should be celebrated.

With delicate grace, Andrea leaves behind her husband, Gerry, for whom she has unending love, devotion, and sometimes silly stubborn squabbles; her daughters Ruby and Isla, for whom she loves fiercely, is infinitely proud, and has eternal hope for life filled with joy, laughter, love, success, and health; and she is relentlessly enveloped with love, support, faith and hope; by her parents, brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, mother-in-law and father-in-law (Audra and Stan Burgart), nieces, nephews, big Moose E. (dog with middle name “Extreme”), and many aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and co-workers.

She was preceded in death by her paternal and maternal grandparents, paternal uncle and many special patients who have gone before her.

“I know I have a lot of special people waiting for me in heaven and because of this, I am not afraid.” ― Andrea Burgart

“If I could give you information of my life it would be to show how a woman of very ordinary ability has been led by God in strange and unaccustomed paths to do in His service what He has done in her. And if I could tell you all, you would see how God has done all, and I nothing. I have worked hard, very hard, that is all; and I have never refused God anything.”

― Florence Nightingale

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