KAREN LEE (BABBITT) TERRY
March 21, 2014
Karen Lee (Babbitt) Terry, 64, died Friday at Hope Hospice in Cape Coral after a long illness.
Karen was devoted to helping others. Until she fell ill, she helped bind together four generations of her family. In a normal day, she would visit her mother-in-law in the Cape, drive her husband to and from work on Fort Myers Beach and pick up two of her grandkids at school back in the Cape, before her daughter and son-in-law finished work for the day.
During the Vietnam War
, Karen worked as a medical service specialist in the U.S. Air Force
, caring for critically wounded servicemen brought home to Scott AFB in Belleville, Ill. She earned the National Defense Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal for her quiet competence and compassion. For years after the war, Karen would jump at any opportunity to honor veterans of that and other wars, because she understood all too well their sacrifice.
Born Sept. 16, 1949 in Rockford, Ill., Karen graduated from Auburn High School and went on to both Sauk Valley Community College and Northern Illinois University. On New Year's Eve in 1976, she married Dan Terry in Polo, Ill. She worked as a respiratory therapist at KSB Hospital in Dixon, Ill., before transitioning to a career as a inventory control manager at large manufacturing firms in Illinois and Florida. She retired two years ago as manager of a pharmacy in Cape Coral, where she combined her medical and logistics backgrounds to ensure patients got the medicine they needed, accurately and on time.
For fun, Karen took up skydiving, jumping out of planes more than 50 times.
Karen loved to travel. For decades she found restful moments in a canoe on Robinson Lake in Bayfield County, Wis. More recently, she and Dan took eight cruises in the last 13 years, tracking all over the Caribbean. In between, they made countless ventures to French restaurants from Chicago to San Francisco to Fort Myers. Until the very end, Karen could name all those restaurants and remember those meals in exquisite detail.
She is survived by her husband, Dan; daughters Jennifer Warren of Ashburn, Va., Ellen High of Cape Coral and Lindsay Terry of Cape Coral; four grandchildren, brothers Gary Babbitt of Rockford and David Babbitt of Winnebago, Ill.; sister Christine Hartzell of Dickinson, Texas; and her mother-in-law, Jacqueline Terry of Cape Coral. Her father, Jess Babbitt, died in 1999; her mother Norma (Tessmer) Babbitt passed just last year.
Karen will be remembered Saturday, March 29 2014 at 7 p.m. at the Fuller Metz Funeral Home, 3740 Del Prado Blvd S., Cape Coral. A military honor guard from MacDill AFB in Tampa will take part. All friends of Karen and her family are welcome to take part.
Karen will be cremated. At a future date, she will be interred next to her parents at Wildwood Burial Park in Rockford.
In lieu of flowers, Karen's family asks that donations be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children or Hope Hospice.[cid:116436b0-a798-4c0a-bdc4-f300cf7524c9]