Karen Marie O’Connor, age 80, passed away peacefully on March 11, 2023, in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Karen was born in Lima, Ohio, in 1943, to Arthur and Mildred Ostendorf. Karen grew up in Wabash, Indiana. She had two sisters, Jane Lois Hays, and the late Mary Alice Harkabus. She graduated from Ball State University in 1964 with a major in education and later obtained a master’s degree from Indiana University. She met her husband, Robert Timothy “Tim” O’Connor in high school but did not start dating him until they reconnected at Ball State University. Karen and Tim had two children, a daughter, Julie, and a son, Blair. Karen dedicated her entire professional career to instructing young children, working 40 years as an elementary school teacher. She spent her first 3 years as a second-grade teacher at Hosford Park Elementary, and her remaining 37 years as a third-grade teacher at Longfellow Elementary School, both in the Lake Ridge School District in Indiana. Karen was a patient and dedicated teacher, beloved by her colleagues and students alike. Her celebration poems in honor of co-workers and friends and Christmas crafts were enjoyed by many who appreciated her talent and thoughtfulness. She was also a devoted wife, mother, and friend, who made the difficult balance of being a working mother look easy.
In her retirement, she settled in Florida with her husband to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. She loved to dote on her 7 grandchildren, spend time making scrapbooks, travel with her husband, and enjoyed evenings out with neighbors and friends. She also enjoyed spoiling her dogs, Dudley, and Arthur.
Karen is survived by her loving husband of 58 years Tim, her children Julie Marie (George) Sorrells, and Blair Timothy (Kristin) O’Connor, seven grandchildren, George and Kaylee Sorrells, and Keira, Colin, Ryan, Tiernan and Dylan O’Connor, and her sister, Jane.
A funeral mass will be held at St. John XXIII in Ft. Myers, Florida, on April 4, 2023, at 10:00am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in honor of Karen’s sister Mary, who suffered from MS. If you are interested in donating, please visit https://mssociety.donordrive.com/indexcfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=288697, or go to the National MS Society home page, click on “Ways to Give,” and do a search for Karen O’Connor under the Memorial Funds.
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