Heidi Marie Burkley-Gomez, 55, was called home to the kingdom of heaven on Monday, October 23, 2023. She passed away peacefully at home in the comfort and presence of her devoted husband, Michael Gomez, and daughter, Danielle Burkley.
Heidi Marie was born on June 19, 1968, in Lake View Terrance, California and brought home to a close-knit neighborhood in Pacoima, California. She was raised by a village that included her mother, both grandmother’s, aunts, and uncles.
She attended Fillmore Elementary School through fifth grade until her family "moved on up to" Lake View Terrance. She graduated sixth grade from Brainard Avenue Elementary and attended Charles Maclay Middle School in Pacoima for seventh grade. In 1981, she moved to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada where she lived with her mother, Monica, and stepfather O. Lee.
Heidi attended Western high school for a short time and then moved to Faith Lutheran High where she became a Crusader for life. Heidi was driven to achieve great things and had sights set on attending college after high school. She excelled in advanced placement courses and spent her junior year as a foreign exchange student in Ensenada, Mexico. She graduated with honors in 1986 and was accepted to attend Spelman University in Atlanta, Georgia.
During her freshman year at Spelman, she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Eta Chi Chapter. As a Sophomore, Heidi transferred to Georgia Tech for a semester and then returned to Las Vegas, Nevada. She began a career with a major international shipping and receiving company and moved up the ranks from clerk to human resources administration. During her time there, Heidi gave birth to her two children, a son Julian Christopher and daughter, two years later, Danielle Monique.
To ensure her future and those of her children, Heidi returned to college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in school, even under insurmountable obstacles, she was inspired to reinvigorate UNLV’s Black Student Union and even became its President. Heidi graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from UNLV. Her degree would set her up for a lifetime of success. It would also provide her with the ability to support her children’s aspirations. Her daughter, Danielle, is currently in her third year of medical school and will be a medical doctor in the near future. Like his mother, Julian has the heart of an entrepreneur and hopes to operate his own business one day.
In 2003, she met Michael Gomez, the man that would become her husband and soulmate. They recently celebrated 10 years of marriage on September 1st. Their meeting would spark an interest in Heidi moving to Chicago, a city she came to love. She was especially excited to live in a place where she could experience the four seasons. Heidi absolutely loved nature and was most at peace when she could bask in the miracles of God. Mike and Heidi spent a lot of time exploring their city and surrounding states. They took walks, canoed, and enjoyed all things outdoors.
Heidi’s move to Chicago brought many joys and some disappointments. Yet she soldiered on! She continued working in Human Resources with a nationwide daycare center until facing a huge challenge when the economy took a turn. As a result, she worked two and three jobs to help support her family including her nephew, Ryan. Eventually, Heidi was hired to work as a Talent Acquisitionist for the largest privately owned veterinary practice in the United States. Again, in her dedicated fashion she rose through the ranks and became a regional manager. Where she was responsible for training and managing others to attract and recruit Veterinarian’s. She was an exceptional leader that led her team with mutual respect and admiration. She loved her company and worked hard everyday to add to its success.
Anyone that knew Heidi, knows that she was a God-fearing woman. She was a mighty servant of God and used multiple social media platforms to share her of love Christ. She posted daily affirmations inspired by her study of scripture. Scrolling through her accounts provides an opportunity to rejoice with Heidi in her love of the world and beautiful imagery, many pictures of which were taken by her.
She was a devout member of New Life Covenant Church Southeast. Where she greatly contributed to the Job Coaches Connection ministry and assisted congregation members with employment services. She also served as an ambassador and performed on the dance ministry. Additionally, her altruism extended beyond church as she readily volunteered in community outreach.
She always uplifted others. She was always willing to forgive others. A woman of unshakable faith, Heidi was always there for her family and friends to support, love, and encourage them. She used song to inspire family and friends and was known for her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All."
Heidi was preceded in death by her stepfather Oliver Lee; father Alphonso Bell; grandmother’s Betti Williams and Miss Bell; Paternal grandfather James Mohamed Burkley (in-law Alma Burkley); Maternal Aunt Annamarie Betts (in-law William Betts); Maternal Uncle Siegfried Burkley; First cousin Luqman Chapron; and Second cousin Kylin Chapron.
Heidi is survived by her cherished husband Michael Gomez; loving and adored children Julian and Danielle Burkley; beloved mother Monica Lee; maternal sister Nina Stallworth; nephews Ryan and Cory Perez-Carrillo; paternal siblings Jerome and Diyema Bell and their children; and a host of loving family members; aunts, uncles, cousins, and numerous faithful friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her honor to the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Care Center at Northwestern University, Chicago.