Karen was an Irish, "nice and naughty" character who has left a hole in the hearts of us who knew and loved her. She was born February 23, 1945 in Salt Lake City to Bessie and Thomas McLeese. Karen grew up in Salt Lake and in the sixth grade at Bonneville Elementary School, she could throw a softball farther than anyone in her sixth grade class. She attended East High School and the University of Utah where she majored in history and was a founding member of the Delta Lambda Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity. After graduation Karen began work at the University of Utah Law School library and mentored many prospective lawyers. Because she knew every attorney in Salt Lake City and had a wonderful relationship with each of them, she began to work in development for the law school. After 40 years of brilliant service, Karen retired in 2011.
Karen was a loyal and thoughtful daughter, sister and friend. To all of her nieces and nephews and friend's children, she was their fairy godmother. Karen was a gourmet cook and a constant gardener with prize roses, impatiens and begonias. Karen loved to "farkle" and take the roads less traveled. She loved Alta, Sun Valley, the Tetons, Jackson and Island Park. Karen always knew where she was going, but sometimes got lost.
Karen had a larger than life personality. She had bright red lips and expressive brown eyes that twinkled with mischievousness, a full hearty laugh, and an attention-getting whistle. She had a keen mind and a sharp wit. Karen gave back to the community in many ways. She was a member of the Junior League of Salt Lake City, the Town Club and volunteered at the U of U Museum of Fine Arts and the Utah Museum of Natural History. In retirement, Karen established the Elizabeth E. Kunzer Endowed Scholarship Fund for Physical Therapy at the University of Utah.
Karen was the honorary mayor of the Wellington where she resided for the past two years. She is survived by her sister Marcia and brother-in-law Eric Harter and their children Christian (Kathy), Kevin (Sue) and Lisa (Max), and her great nephews Cameron, Owen, Eric and niece Taylor. And nephews Clarke Smith, and niece, Laurie Flynn. Karen was preceded in death by her sister Mary Janet Smith and her parents Bessie and Thomas McLeese. There will be a celebration of Karen's life at a later date that will posted on the Starks Funeral Home web page. Those who wish to make a donation may do so in Karen's name to the U of U Museum of Fine Arts or the Utah Museum of Natural History or to the Jane Ashley Barrett Scholarship, University of Utah School of Architecture.
A celebration of Karen's life will be held on Friday, May 18, 2018 from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. Guests are encouraged to use the complimentary valet parking on the north side of the building.