Karen Fawcett Kelly
GREENSBORO, N.C: After a inspiring and grace-filled battle with ALS, Karen Fawcett Kelly, 43, passed away on January 29. She is now whole again and with the Lord who she trusted completely and with the precious little boy who she missed so much.
Karen is predeceased by her son, Davis Kelly, who died at the age of 3.
Surviving are her loving husband, Shane Kelly; and daughter Sophie Kelly. Karen leaves a legacy of love for her parents who were always at the center of her life's story, Lee and Dean Wilerk, and Barry and Joan Fawcett; Cindy and Mike Kelly. Also surviving are sister- and brother-in-law, Michele and Michael Hochstrasser; niece and nephew, Hannah and Elijah Hochstrasser; brother-in-law, Chad Kelly; and brother, Michael Fawcett.
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Karen earned her B.A. at Miami University of Ohio and her M.A. in Education at UNC-Greensboro. Generosity was an abundant fruit of her spirit, and she gave of her time, energy and creativity with an "all-in" dedication that changed the face and future of the Natural Science Center of Greensboro. She earned the love and devotion of the NSC staff as she served on the Board of Trustees since 2005, sat on a host of committees, chaired marquee fundraisers, and provided vital support for the 2009 City Bond Vote all of which initiated the rebirth and renewal of the Center. To know Karen was to be forever changed by her thoughtfulness, faith, generosity and peace. From the day she lost her son 11 years ago, to the day she died, she sought comfort in knowing that God had a plan for her, and she joyfully allowed Him to work through her. There was no more attentive listener than Karen, and those privileged to call her friend know what it was to seek her clarity in the face of a problem. And they know what it was to be infected by her laugh - a laugh that made you smile and was always funnier than the joke that inspired it. Few could match her ability to turn an ordinary room into a warm and elegantly comfortable escape, and her touch infuses the Kelly home that wraps its arms around every long-lingering visitor. Some are book smart, and some are street smart, but Karen was a rare and enviable combination of both. Hundreds of children were graced by her gifts as a remarkable middle-school science teacher for 6 years in Wilmington, and Greensboro, N.C., classrooms, one for which she earned the honor of Guilford County Middle School Science Teacher of the Year. And even when she left the classroom, she continued to read, study and delight in discovery with fellow lifelong learners. A die-hard Buckeye, she wore her colors proudly and loved every chance to be surrounded by her beloved childhood Ohioans. Most memorably, Karen was in love with her family. Her soul mate and best friend, Shane, was the love of her life since high school and they shared a marriage that was strengthened, not depleted, by the loss of a child and the devastation of ALS. They walked through fire and came out the other side as a testament to devotion. At the end of her life, "Don't be bitter, be better" were words of encouragement Karen gave to the man she loved. At the center of her heart was her precious Sophie. A mother-daughter bond was never stronger - Karen found her greatest joy in Sophie's compassion, humor, and creative zest for life. They were, and will remain now in loving spirit, inseparable.
The family offers deepest thanks to so many friends and family who walked faithfully with them through this journey, and to Karen's nurses: Kathy, Shemeka, Erica, Jessi, Amy, Kori, Cyndi, Janci, Braylee and Therese who provided her the most loving care possible throughout her battle.
A Celebration of Life service will take place on Friday, February 1 at St. Pius Catholic Church at 11 a.m. The family will receive friends following the service in the Kloster Center.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Natural Science Center of Greensboro Karen Kelly Memorial; Hospice of Greensboro; or The Pete Moffitt Family Fund at 2604 Lawndale Rd. GSO, NC 27408.