Barbara Wiley Burks, 69

Burks-Barbara-SAVEBarbara Wiley Burks, age 69, of Olathe, KS, died at home on April 12, 2016. Barbara was born November 5, 1946, in Burlington, Iowa. She was the eldest of two children born to Ronald Norris Wiley and Ethel Schulz Wiley.

Barbara attended Burlington High School and was a graduate of Iowa State University, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics. She was a member of the Alpha Gamma Delta social sorority and Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She received her Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Barbara taught for 10 years at Wasson High School in Colorado Springs. She had a lifelong interest in politics and worked on several local and statewide campaigns in Colorado. After moving to Kansas, she helped her husband, Walter Burks, establish a successful autograph business. She worked for 22 years at Johnson County Mental Health Center, where she served as Director of Substance Abuse Services. Barbara was passionate about helping those who suffered from addiction and was responsible for creating new services for that population. She was instrumental in the passage of the Addiction Counselor Licensure Act, and was the first representative of the addiction counseling profession to be appointed by the Governor to serve on the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board.

In retirement, Barbara didn’t slow down. She and her husband Walter loved to travel and spend time with their grandchildren. Barbara participated in many social activities in the Cedar Creek community and enjoyed spending time with her friends, near and far, whom she treasured. Barbara also served on several local advisory boards. Her concern for the community and others less fortunate motivated every aspect of her life. Barbara and a close friend established 100 Women Who Care: Cedar Creek in the spring of 2014. This group has raised over $10,000 quarterly for charities in the Kansas City metro area.

Barbara is survived by her devoted husband, Walter Morrow Burks; her loving stepchildren, Jennifer Burks Bell, Bryan Burks (wife Page), and Michelle Burks Langton (husband David); six grandchildren (Jessica, Mackenzie, Owen, Brynn, Brayden, and Jordyn); and 2 great grandchildren (Jordan and Zoey). She also leaves behind her brother, Douglas Wiley (wife Sharon Stadler); nieces Rachel Wiley Chapman (husband Allen) and Georgia Burks Zeller (husband Jason); nephews, Amos Burks, Eli Burks, and Walter Burks; and many beloved cousins.

At Barbara’s request, there will be no funeral. Instead, family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life gathering on April 22, 2016 at 11:00 am in honor of Barbara at the Shadow Glen Country Club, 26000 Shadow Glen Street, Olathe, KS 66061. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Head and Neck Cancer Living Foundation at 6240 W 135th St., Suite 200, Overland Park, KS 66223 or Kansas City Hospice at 1500 Meadow Lake Parkway, Suite 200, Kansas City, MO 64114.

Condolences may be shared with the family at

Arrangements: Cremation Center of Kansas City, 4926 Johnson Drive, Shawnee Mission, KS; 913-384-5566