Maggie Foley-Burgess passed away on December 25, 2019, with her friends and loved ones by her side or with her in spirit. She died of a rare form of cancer, leiomyosarcoma, which afflicts only six in one million women. She wanted this mentioned, as a positive prognosis of this disease is minimal since it is often misdiagnosed or not discovered until it has metastasized to other areas of the body. More research and funding are needed to help in diagnosing and fighting this rare (orphan) disease. Due to Maggie’s indomitable spirit, when diagnosed in October of 2018, and given weeks to live, she survived for more than a year, even after undergoing two failed treatment attempts. She attributed this to her deep spirituality, along the prayers and positive energy of others.
She was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Jerry and Helen (Callaghan) Foley who preceded her in death. She was also predeceased by two brothers, Robert and Joseph, prior to her birth; both her paternal and maternal grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Her parents-in-law Rodney and LaBelle (Burgess) and brothers-in-law Robert and Rodney Jr. (Carol), and sister-in-law Joyce.
Maggie is survived by the love of her life and soul companion, Don Burgess, who put up with a lot of Maggie’s antics and wild goose chases in their life such as: antique/estate/thrift store looking for the worst conditioned item to turn into a jewel; trips on a whim such as taking a long weekend scheduled for their cabin up north to instead talk Don into driving 10 hours with no suitcase containing essentials such as clothes, toothbrush, etc. to spend time with family. As Maggie said, “The list of Don’s ongoing patience and having to wait for me could go on.”
Maggie is also survived by her spouse’s children, Christopher (Cheryl), and grandchildren Caitlin (Kody), and Ian; and daughter Lorie (Ken), and grandchildren Joshua and Hailey, and two great grandchildren, and brother-in-law, Raymond and nieces and nephews; Maggie’s siblings: brother Mike (Kathleen) and daughters Debra (Adam) and their infant son Oliver, and Sara (Matt); brother Pat (Joy) and children Bryan and Megan; sister Fran and her children Betsy, Melissa, Katie; and cousin Bill (Mary Lou) who was always like a brother to her as they grew up together, along with other cousins.
Maggie spent 20 years in the graphic arts supplies industry before deciding she was not living to her true vocation of helping others. She continued to work full time while returning to college to complete her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, so that she could work with the chronically mentally ill, homeless, and those suffering from the disease of substance abuse. She recognized that this was where her passion lay and felt more and more the joy, happiness, and fulfillment helping others brought to her.
Respecting her wishes, cremation has taken place and there will be no services. Maggie chose to forgo services as she preferred that you spend the time or money donating to a mental health, substance abuse, homeless organization or charity of your choice; or spend time doing an act of kindness for others in whichever way you see fit. Maggie wanted to thank everyone for the kindness, humor, and joy they brought to her life. Her family would also like to thank Emmanuel Hospice and Clark Home for their loving care at the end of her life.
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