SUDBURY — Karen Ann Hawley passed away on Thursday March 17, 2022, surrounded by her loving family. She was 68 years old.
Karen was the first-born daughter and child born to Bernard Max and Ruth Osborn Hawley. She was born on Oct. 27, 1953, in Glens Falls Hospital. She would become “Sister Bear” to five siblings. Karen grew up in Lake George Village and the lake was central in her childhood years. Her family worked around and played in this beautiful lake, where Karen helped her father at his marina. Karen grew up living the values of family and hard work. She lived her life just that way.
Karen graduated from Lake George High School in 1971. She attended and graduated from Trinity College in Burlington with a B.A. in Human Services in 1975. She would later go on to get her Master’s Degree in Special Ed from College of St. Joseph in Rutland. While at Trinity College she met the person who would become her lifelong best friend, Shirley Chase McNally. It was fun for Karen’s children to hear the funny stories about their mom and Aunt Shirley.
In 1976 Karen took what she described as a “summer job” at the Brandon Training School. That summer gig turned into Karen’s professional passion; caring for and advocating for the needs of Vermonters with developmental disabilities. Just prior to Brandon Training School closing in 1993 Karen accepted a position with the Office of Public Guardians. Her work took her all over the state, maintaining relationships started in Brandon, to assure that people were supported. In 2015, just shy of her 40th year of work she was forced to retire due to failing health.
In 1988 she met her partner for life Dar. Together they made their home in Sudbury. They welcomed their first child in 2000, William Russell. In 2005 they welcomed home their second child Madison Barbara. They enjoyed going to Disney, swimming, and riding roller coasters.
In addition to her partner and children Karen is survived by her siblings Pam Hawley-Dean, Gail Hawley, Mark Hawley and John Hawley. She is survived by many nieces, nephews, and cousins, as well as a great nephew.
Karen was predeceased by her parents and by her brother Peter, and by her sister-in-law Claudia.
According to her wishes there will be no services. Burial at Pine Hill Cemetery will take place at a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations to honor Karen be made to the Brandon Area Rescue Squad or the Rutland County Humane Society.
Miller and Ketchum Funeral Home is handling all arrangements.
Finally, over the last seven years it has been difficult for Karen to breathe comfortably. A great tribute would be to breathe deeply and think of Karen with fondness. Her family certainly will.