Karen Elizabeth Willis, age 72, of Escanaba, passed away Sunday evening, December 11, 2011 at the St. Francis Hospital in Escanaba.
Karen was born April 10, 1939 in Hood River, Oregon. She was placed at birth in the Albertina Kerr Orphanage and Girls Home until she was 2 years of age at which time she was adopted by George and Lena Brehm. Karen stayed with her new parents in Oregon for six years at which time the family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska.
She attended the 1st grade in Saratoga Public School. Grades 2nd through 8th she attended the Lincoln City SDA Elementary School.
Her high school years were spent at Union College Academy where she met her future husband.
Friendship blossomed into romance and after graduation in the spring of 1957 she was married to Robert L. Willis of Martell, Nebraska. Although there were some who doubted the marriage would last, Karen and Robert were married for 54 years.
Karen received her PHT degree (Putting Hubby Through) in 1965 when Robert graduated from Union College.
After his graduation the family, now with 2 small girls, moved to Escanaba where Robert, with Karen’s help, taught Church School. This was to be the pattern of their lives for the next 36 years, teaching in Escanaba and Munising, Michigan, Slidell, Louisiana, Springdale Arkansas, Texarkana, Arkansas, Sunnydale Elementary in Centralia, Missouri, Janesville, Wisconsin and finishing in Minocqua, Wisconsin.
She often served as a teachers aide, taught grades 1 – 4, and was well known for being able to help students with special needs. She also served as church organist, Sabbath School Leader, soloist, pianist and more.
She was well known for her love of children, cats, flowers and horses.
Today she asks you to meet with her in a better place. Yes, we’ll all meet together in a better place, a better place than this.
Karen is survived by her husband, Robert of Escanaba, and two daughters, Katherine E. Willis of Escanaba and Sharon L. (Terry) Willis – Starin of Niles, MI.
She was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Ruth V. Brehm.
The family will receive friends on Thursday, December 15 from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM at the Skradski-Boyce Funeral Home in Escanaba. Funeral services will follow at 6:00 PM at the funeral home. A luncheon will be served following services at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Escanaba. Karen will be laid to rest in the Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska.