Karen Louise Bender Warner (79) passed away peacefully in her home in Huntsville, AL on January 1, 2021. She was surrounded by love and family, both near and far. After growing up in the greater Atlanta area (and spending summers at Lake Chautauqua, NY), Karen, Fraternity Sweetheart of Lambda Chi Alpha, married her one and only true love from Georgia Tech, Richard (Dick) Warner (St. Petersburg, FL). Together they settled in Bartlett, IL where they raised five children.
Karen is best remembered as a prolific writer, leaving volumes of material to enjoy as well as countless personal letters sent to family and friends over the years. Karen and Dick put their shared woodworking and painting skills to work as they participated in local craft shows with "Cappy Crafts" woodworking products. When Dick stopped flying for United Airlines and became the club manager at Bartlett Hills Golf Course, Karen was often found helping him facilitate community affairs, whether it was outings, dart league or ensuring there were trails for cross country skiers. Being a mother of five and widowed at 43, Karen's faith, philosophic strength and humor were the foundation to her home. The number of people coming and going in the Route 59 "Edelweiss" home never mattered much to her - as long as everyone was smiling and loving one another. As the gaggle left the nest, Karen ventured south to Huntsville, AL where two of her children lived. She worked in HR at Three Springs, Inc., and touched the hearts of a whole new community.
Karen, lovingly called "Shags", leaves a legacy of love in her wake. We expect she is reunited with Richard and welcomed by her parents, Ralph & Linnea (Seagren) Bender and her fun-loving siblings Bud, Ron, Kay and Chuck. Karen is survived by her sister, Patricia B. Johnson (88), five children: Michael Rhett (Linda), Robyn (Erin Braley), Patti (Kevin Foss), Richard Dane (Gretchen), and Stuart Lance (Beth), her adoring grandchildren: Justen (Victoria), Arielle (Chris Olfers), Ashley (Sumit Mehta), Kelsey, Kallie (Kees Henskens), Henry, and Niles, countless four-leggeds, and many nieces and nephews.
To spend a moment in time speaking with Karen or reading her infamously long letters filled with encouragement and hope was to experience a taste of unconditional love and acceptance. She reserved judgement and embraced all people accepting them for who they were and leading them to learn to love themselves. No doubt an important messenger and healer to many who crossed her path, Karen truly lived in the moment with everyone she met and always believed in the dreams they would share. In lieu of flowers, the family asks you to honor Karen with some "Shagmatic" mail. Hand write a letter and send it good old-fashioned USPS to someone you love. The timeless gesture of sending a good letter with updates is something Karen enjoyed with her friends and family. While she was on the receiving end of pen pal jokes, in our family we know there's nothing that spreads "nuttin' but love" (NBL) like a letter from a very dear friend.
If you'd like to support a cause, the American Diabetes Association is doing good work.
As our own journeys continue, we embrace the wisdom of "Shags"; treat all people with unconditional love, forgive yourself and others and walk-in faith. Always be present and kind as you spread the peace, beginning from within.
A celebration of Karen's life will be shared virtually via Facebook Live on Friday, January 8, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST (7:00 PM EST). Search @Honoring Karen Warner on Facebook for the Memorial Facebook page to find event details. In addition to hosting the event, this page will allow friends and family to share memories and pictures as they happen to come across them.
For easy access to Karen's Memorial FB page copy/paste this URL: https://www.facebook.com/HonoringKarenWarner/?view_public_for =106829734686014
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Karen (Bender) Warner, please visit our floral store.