Cover photo for Samantha Keleher Bursum's Obituary
Samantha Keleher Bursum Profile Photo
2009 Samantha 2024

Samantha Keleher Bursum

August 14, 2009 — March 1, 2024

Samantha Jane Keleher Bursum (age 14) was a radiant presence, who brought light and joy into our lives every single day from her arrival on August 14, 2009 until her untimely departure following a tragic automobile accident on March 1, 2024.

Samantha is preceded in death by her grandparents Holm O. Bursum III and Earle Powell Bursum. She is survived by her sister Katherine Anne Keleher Bursum, her mother, Loretta (Lori) Wills Keleher, her father, Michael Earl Bursum and her grandparents, Michael L. Keleher and Margaret Wills Keleher as well as many beloved Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.

Born in Albuquerque and raised in Las Cruces, Samantha always brought smiles and joy wherever she went. In her earliest year, she was affectionately known as Sammy or Sam Sam, and was often found at the Las Cruces Farmer's Market on Saturdays, mass at the Newman Center on Sundays, and playing in her backyard with a view of the Organ mountains and a chocolate lab named Rollo the rest of the week. Her sister Katherine was her constant companion and together these giggle girls radiated happiness in a way that brought joy and light into the darkest room or mood.

Samantha loved attending Living Hope Montessori for Preschool and Hillrise Elementary's Kindergarten. She was homeschooled for much of first and second grade, and attended Ecole Antonia in Montpellier, France for months at a time from 2016 - 2022. By the time Sam enrolled in Las Cruces Catholic School for third through eighth grade, she was fluent in French and Spanish and reading far above grade level.

The enthusiasm and tenacity Samantha brought to activities was inspiring. She took lessons for piano and clarinet, acted in plays with A Children's Theater, and enjoyed several sports including skiing, scuba diving, hiking, and canyoning. Sam had stints on teams for swimming, lacrosse, and basketball, but she was devoted to volleyball. Sam played volleyball in middle and high school, with clubs Shinchoku and Three Crosses, and any other chance she could get including volleyball camps, pick-up games at family reunions, or with people she met on vacations, or alone against the wall at home.

As a Freshman at Las Cruces High School Sam's appetite for learning and new experiences led her to join French Honor Society, Student Government, Student Advisory Council, Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA), and founded the mock trial club, all while playing on the school and club volleyball teams, maintaining straight As, and enjoying an active social life. Her zest for life shone brightly in everything she did.

Sam was insatiably curious and remarkably clever. She processed and evaluated information quickly and had a talent for clearly articulating her position on any issue from politics and human rights, to the best lip-gloss, to why we should study at Starbucks before school. She was an avid reader of young adult fiction and was independently making her way through Shakespeare's works. She would annotate in the margins and review the books she read in a notebook. These traits and habits made her very good at school. She was on track to achieve her goal of being valedictorian. A "Samantha-F" - anything less than an A - would lead her to double her study efforts and seek help. Sam was good at getting people to help her. She appreciated the help and the many people who helped her.

We are proud of Samantha's activities and accomplishments. But we really miss being with the girl that made these things happen. We miss watching Sam hold her own in conversations with adults, dart ahead on a hike, freak out at a "Samantha-F," dance in the kitchen, take charge of the car trip playlist, share her review of a restaurant or book, snuggle up while watching TV, and so many other sassy, silly, sweet Samantha-things. We love you Sam.

A rosary will be said for Samantha at FRENCH-University on Friday March 15th following a viewing at 5:00 pm. A Funeral mass will be said at Our Lady of Fatima Church (4020 Lomas NE) on Saturday March 16 at 9:30 am, burial and reception to follow. A memorial mass will be said in Las Cruces at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (1240 S Espina) Thursday March 21, at 2:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Las Cruces Catholic School's scholarship fund, or to Community of Hope, or to the Ocean Conservatory.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Samantha Keleher Bursum, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Friday, March 15, 2024

5:00 - 6:00 pm (Mountain time)

University & Lomas Funeral Home

1111 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102

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Rosary

Friday, March 15, 2024

6:00 - 7:00 pm (Mountain time)

University & Lomas Funeral Home

1111 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87102

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Mass

Saturday, March 16, 2024

9:30 - 10:30 am (Mountain time)

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