Anna Frances (Birardi) Masure, 91, died Thursday, January 19, at her home in Leawood, Kansas, while praying the rosary with loved ones. Anna was born August 17, 1925, to Italian immigrant parents in South Amboy, New Jersey. One of eight children, she grew up going to daily Mass and developed a strong devotion to her faith. At seven years old, she was stricken with rheumatic fever, received the last rites and wasn't expected to live. But Anna slowly recovered and vowed to become a nurse. After high school, she moved to Trenton, New Jersey, to study nursing with the Franciscan nuns, where she was first in her class. She became a Lieutenant Navy Flight Nurse serving in the Korean War, traveling to Asia, Europe and Africa caring for our wounded soldiers. She was stationed in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she met her greatest earthly love, Hector Robert (Bob) Masure. He proposed to her on Thanksgiving Day, and they were married in July 1953. After an honorable discharge, the couple moved to California and St. Louis before settling in Fulton, Missouri, where they started raising six children and became active in the community. However, in 1970, when the children were ages 2 - 15, Anna's husband died on March 17, at the age of 39. But Anna found hope in Christ and turned her tragic love story into a strong devotion to her children, her faith and her community. She was intent on helping others and raising quality human beings. Anna's life tells a story of personal and professional excellence. As a registered nurse, she worked in a community hospital, then in nursing education teaching pharmacology at the Fulton State Hospital, where she retired in 1980. Anna's diligent work ethic shined every day on the job; she showed up early, never called in sick, taught her students the art of healing others, and accepted only their best in the classroom. At home, Anna poured love and faith into each of her six children, teaching the value of hard work and becoming the best versions of themselves. She would often say, "Do your work willingly as though serving the Lord himself." She raised her children to love, to forgive, and to value the highest ideals. "What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and suffered the loss of his soul?" She taught them the Bible, without citing passages or even letting them know she'd read it somewhere. Her children thought she had made up most of her quotes because she'd recite them with such authority and ownership. Anna taught all her values, not with words, but by example. Anna was a leader and voice of reason throughout her life. Her motto was, 'Anything worth doing is worth doing to the best of your ability.' She served on the boards of the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association and as the first female President of the St. Peter's Parish Council. Anna lived her life with depth and authenticity because of her uncompromising faith in Christ. She was a serious and soul-stirring woman. Her rich body of work can be found in her children and grandchildren, who represent the full range of humanity and who are ever grateful for her selflessness and support. As they watched her soar throughout her life, surviving breast cancer, lymphoma, pneumonia and unbearable neuropathic pain, they never saw her complain, despair or lose hope. And somewhere along the line, all who knew Anna realized they were in the presence of a saint; they all marveled at her wisdom, strength, stamina and faith. Plus, she made the most delicious red carpet and German-chocolate cakes and her homemade apple pie was second to none. Anna constantly seized opportunities and encouraged everyone to do the same, but she also set a standard for living, for giving, for forgiving, and for loving that few can live up to, but through faith she gave everyone the courage to try. 'Take Mother Mary with you, and keep an open line with JC.' Anna is survived by her six children, Robert Masure (Marlene), Mariann James (Chuck), Millie Brown (Mike), Katherine Marquart (Kurt), Bill Masure (Ramey), Diana Henry (Dan); her sister, Angelina Falk and 13 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She is preceded in death by her parents, Alphonso Birardi and Maria Dominica Santamaria; her dear husband, Hector Robert Masure; and her siblings, Mary, Joseph, Mario, and Michael Birardi, Marie "Toni" Kreseski, and Rose McGrath. The family wishes to thank her doctor, Cosmo Caruso, of St. Joseph Hospital for his commitment, intelligence and love for the past 20 years. The family suggests memorial contributions to St. Peter Catholic Church, 700 State Road Z, Fulton, Missouri 65251, 573-642-5562 Funeral Mass was held Monday, January 23 at 11 a.m. at Church of the Nativity, 3800 W. 119th Street, Leawood, Kansas. Rite of Christian Burial will be on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m., at Callaway Memorial Gardens in Fulton, Missouri.