Stephanie Olga Burr was raised in East Hartford, CT. She had an early interest and talent in piano and organ, and graduated from Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science degree in music. She taught and performed classical piano and was in several of the eight-piano concerts performed at St. Cecilia Musical Society. She was involved in both the Michigan Music Teachers Association (MMTA) and the Music Teachers National Association. Locally, she was involved with the Piano Teachers Forum of Grand Rapids. From 1998-2002 Stephanie served as President of the Forum. In 2000 she was honored as teacher of the year by the Forum chapter, and was subsequently elected MMTA Teacher of the Year and honored at the state convention.
She also was involved with the National Guild of Piano Teachers operating out of her Eastown Studio. Stephanie was active in organizing the local event and was also involved in adjudication for the Guild in many Guild-affiliated states. She was a frequent adjudicator for MMTA at both the local and state levels.
Stephanie performed in musical theater, and accompanied both voice and instrument. Audiences may remember the “Broadway Express,“ featuring Jean Reed Bahle, Mary Gamble Hyatt, Kim McLeod and Kirk Swenk with Stephanie on the keyboards.
When not musically in tuned, Stephanie served as a softball outfielder, a crunching racket ball player, excelled in mixed tennis doubles, and was a doting mother to five suspicious Samoyeds. She approached her life that was emblazoned by a simple sign on her desk: “I Speak Fluent Sarcasm.”
She was predeceased by her parents, Steve and Olga (Laxman) Powlishen, and brother Steven. Surviving are her husband James Booth Burr, Jr., step-daughters, Amy Elizabeth Burr, Kalamazoo, and Whitney Lynne Burr, Chicago, IL, step-son James William Burr (Jill), Stone Mountain, GA, granddaughter Katherine Emerson (Katie) Burr, sister-in-law Margaret Taylor, sister-in-law Lori Powlishen, Branford, CT, and brother and sister-in-law Thomas Dudley Burr and Sandy Burr. She is also survived by her Pennsylvania cousins, Joan Hillegass, Joyce Miller and Jane (Michael) Ryan.
COVID-19 will not allow for a service, at least at this time. Stephanie’s time on this Earth might be rewarded by considering a contribution to the St. Cecilia Music Society.
To send flowers to Stephanie's family, please visit our floral store.
St. Cecilia Music Society
24 Ransom NE, Grand Rapids MI 49503