Waterford - Karen Marie Yu, 57, of Waterford, went to join her husband Morris Yu on Thursday, May 15, 2014, their wedding anniversary. Her daughters, Jennifer and Emily Yu were at her side.
Karen was born in New London, on July 18, 1956, the daughter of Thomas Vivirito, who passed away when she was an infant and Doris Vivirito. She was raised by her father, John G. Kanabis and her mother, Doris Vivirito Kanabis. She was the widow of Morris Yu who predeceased her on May 1, 2007.
Karen had been a longtime teacher for the children of New London; having worked at the Spanish American Cultural Center, with multi-handicapped children, autistic children and behaviorally challenged youth. Karen had a gift and a love for teaching and working with youth who were undergoing their own challenges. Karen took pride in a personal book bag mission for the children of the Waterford Country School Safe Homes. She took pleasure in being a secret santa for teenagers she never met, making their wishes come true in honor of her soul mate Morris Yu. Her family and true friends all knew her love for helping others and expecting nothing in return.
Karen was a member of Soka Gakkai International, having served as a district leader for Waterford. She opened her home and her heart to members of the Buddhist community.
Karen was a graduate of Saint Bernard's High School in 1974. She attended Quinnipiac College and transferred to Mohegan Community College where she received an associate's degree in May 1980. She worked full time at Zayre's and went to school at Eastern Connecticut State University while caring for her oldest daughter and received her bachelor's degree in Education in May 1989.
Karen loved spending time at the beach, collecting sea glass, and hosting family get-togethers. She was and forever will be known for her tuna macaroni salad. She was welcoming to all, making anyone coming into our home feel comfortable. Karen enjoyed crypto quotes, Sudoku, and puzzles. Her 2010 trip to Disney World with her two beautiful daughters was a special and magical time.
Karen leaves behind to cherish her memory her two daughters, Jennifer and Emily Yu of Waterford; three brothers, Thomas Vivirito and John A. Kanabis of Waterford and Robert Kanabis (Kim) of Lyme and family; two sisters, JoAnn V. Francisconi (Frank) of New London, Mary Jean Kanabis (Marcie) of Waterford; her step-father, John G. Kanabis of New London; Karen also leaves her brother-in-law, Jonathan Yu (Tara); and sister-in-law, Jenny Yu; nieces and nephews, Casey, Justin, Katie and John Michael.
Calling hours are from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday, at the Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home, 12 Ocean Ave., New London. Interment will be private.
Memorial contributions may be made to Charter Oak Bank c/o Emily Yu College Fund, 3 Boston Post Road, Waterford, CT 06385.
Condolence messages may be left on Karen's memorial page at www.neilanfuneralhome.com