Paula Sue Burrell of Elliott, Illinois passed from this world on Friday, September 17th, 2021 at home with her family at her side.
Born on June 9th, 1951 in Metropolis, Illinois, Paula was the first child of Loren Dale Davis and Pauline Bernice Adams Davis. Paula spent her formative years in Metropolis, Pekin, and Delavan. After high school, she attended ISU, then married David Raymond Burrell on February 26th, 1971 in Delavan.
Having dreamt of working with horses since childhood, Paula became an accomplished horse trainer. She raced quarter horses in Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa, and Nebraska, earning back-to-back Leading Trainer honors in 1987 and 1988. After retiring from racing, Paula discovered a new career as a flatbed dispatcher with S&S Transportation.
Paula loved to garden. Her house and yard were full of lush plants and flowers. And hummingbirds. A lifelong collector, she adored books, music, history--absolutely anything curious or interesting--and she remembered the origin story of each of her treasures. She also curated and preserved precious family heirlooms and enjoyed digging through historical records to unravel family history.
Above all, she loved her family, and Paula’s definition of family included her animals. Her generous heart and fierce love and support strengthened all who knew her, whether they walked on two legs or four. She poured all of herself into looking after her husband and raising two independent, capable children, who she loved beyond measure. She also mothered countless animals over the decades, who all loved her unconditionally and undoubtedly welcomed her into heaven.
She follows her parents, her step-mother Jean, her oldest brother Rickie, and her youngest brother Robin into the next life.
Dave, her husband of fifty years, is adrift without her. He will miss her terribly, as will her children, Clint and Kim Burrell of Centralia, Missouri, Kim and Deron Rutledge of Buckley, Illinois, and her beloved grandson, Hunter Burrell of Centralia, Missouri. There are also two dogs, two cats, and an elderly bird who will miss her very, very much.
Among her other surviving family who loved her dearly are her favorite sister Pamela (Chuck) Kensinger of Delavan, Illinois, and two loving brothers, Ron (Lori) Davis and Roger Davis of Pekin, Illinois, along with many nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, and distant relatives.
As Paula requested, there will be no service. Her family will host a gathering in the spring to plant a tree in her honor and they will do their level best to keep it alive without her there to guide them. Instead of flowers, Paula’s family requests that you plant a tree or make a memorial contribution to a local humane society, public media station, or to any group you feel embodies the indelible spirit of the woman you knew and loved.