Miss Karye Jayne Willard, 33, of Quincy, died at 11:30 a.m. Thursday (May 16, 2013) in her home. Born June 1, 1979, in Columbia, Mo., Karye was a daughter of Bruce and Marla Hardee Willard. Karye spent most of her early life in Kenai, Alaska. Her family moved to Quincy in 1994, and Karye graduated from Quincy High School in 1997. She graduated in 2003 from the University of Illinois with a BS in biomedical engineering. At age 12, Karye was diagnosed with Friedreich's ataxia, a progressive neuromuscular disease. She battled numerous health complications throughout her life and was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. She faced the many challenges that came her way with strength, courage and faith beyond her years. Karye's smile could brighten even the darkest of days, and that will truly be missed by those who love her. Karye had great compassion for people, especially children with disabilities and special needs. In the past, she served on the West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living Board. Even though her health did not allow her to actively work in her field, she continued to educate herself on current research and projects related to biomedical engineering. Karye also enjoyed reading, writing and listening to music. She was a member of Madison Park Christian Church and enjoyed past opportunities to be involved in the women's ministries Bible studies. Survivors include her parents, Bruce and Marla Willard of Quincy; a brother, Nick Willard (Kimberly) of Aurora; a sister, Stephanie Willard of Quincy; a niece, Avery Willard of Aurora; three aunts, Melva Graham (Jim) of Milton, Sue Kamm (Bob) of New York City and Jayne Chrouser (Bruce) of Louisville, Ky.; three uncles, David Willard (Nancy) of St. Louis, Michael Hardee (Dorothy) of Kirksville, Mo., and Bill Hardee (Susan) of Fort Worth, Texas; and many loving cousins and extended family members. Karye was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Travis and Eva Willard; her maternal grandparents, Robert and Beverly Hardee; and a first cousin in infancy, Elizabeth Jayne Chrouser. SERVICES: 11 a.m. Monday in Madison Park Christian Church, with the Rev. Larry Smith conducting. VISITATION: 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday in the Zehender Robinson Stormer Cookson Funeral Home and 10 a.m. until services Monday in the church. MEMORIALS: Friedreich Ataxia Research Alliance (F.A.R.A), Dorce Missions or the Blessing Foundation for Hospice. ARRANGEMENTS: Zehender Robinson Stormer Cookson Funeral Home.
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Published in Quincy Herald-Whig from May 19 to May 21, 2013