Memorial service set for drowning victim

Published 5:12 pm Wednesday, September 21, 2011

By BRAD GASKINS / Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Two years before her death earlier this week, Sandra Dilmore Burttram penned hand-written instructions for her funeral.

Those wishes – which she titled “Sandra’s Dash” – will be followed Sept. 25 in a 2 p.m. memorial service at Columbiana United Methodist Church, where she and her husband, Bruce, were members.

Burttram drowned Sept. 18 while fishing with her husband on a private lake on Arabian Road.

Sandra Burttram

“She lost her footing (in a boat) and fell in,” said Nic Patterson, the director of worship arts and program ministries at Columbiana UMC. “Bruce tried to save her.”

Emergency responders couldn’t revive Burttram, who died at age 65.

She loved fishing, Jesus and working with children, Patterson said.

“She was a blessing to anyone who knew her,” he added.

Burttram’s instructions for her funeral were detailed, Patterson said, noting they included everything from what songs to sing to the design of the bulletin.

“I can think of just a few times in my ministry where I’ve seen someone have it written out like this,” Patterson said.

In her instructions, Burttram requested contributions for the church’s youth ministries in lieu of flowers.

Without specifying a particular song, Burttram requested the service close with a song by Paula Head to “show off her amazing voice,” Patterson said.

Burttram was married to her husband, Bruce, for 42 years. Bruce Burttram teaches Sunday school at the church and leads the church’s efforts to donate to the homeless, Patterson said.

Other survivors include her mother, Clara Freeman Dilmore; daughter, Jennifer Heerten (Alex); and son, Daniel Ryan Burttram (Liz). She leaves behind five grandchildren: Bryce, Clara Alice, Audrey, Josie and Sarah.