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Karen Roberts

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Photo Karen Roberts Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free. Passed away August 22, 2006, after a courageous battle with cancer. Karen was born August 4, 1948, in San Jose, California, to Edward Pious and Helen May Roberts and grew up in San Jose, graduating from Willow Glen High School in 1966 and San Jose State University in 1971 with a BA in Radio/Television. In 1972, Karen joined the staff at KTEH Channel 54 as an intern and there she found the passion of her life as she worked in and later headed, the Programming Department. Karen was instrumental in the development of KTEH's special niche of programming and the station became known for running programming not commonly aired on other commercial or public television stations. In addition to regular PBS programming, Karen sought out programs from other nationwide distributors and international sources. Among Karen's successes were the acquisitions of Dr. Who, Blake's 7, Eastenders, Red Dwarf and many British comedies and mysteries as well as various Japanese animation series. Karen's ingenuity, knowledge and skill in acquiring and scheduling innovative programming was well known throughout the Public Television system. Karen also was the force behind the creation of KTEH's theme night programming. The different themes required her to negotiate with program suppliers and syndicators outside the PBS system, including the BBC which became her favorite supplier. Karen had an uncanny ability to stretch her programming budget as far as it could go, earning her the respect of her financially strapped public television colleagues. Karen served on several national committees with other public television programming professionals who were in an overlap market. She was also seen regularly on air during pledge drives and auctions. Karen was very dedicated and had a strong commitment to public service. Her travels, while she worked for the station, enabled her to attain the best programming in the Bay Area. She always wanted the best for her viewers. While Karen loved her job, she had other great loves as well: babies, puppies, good friends, a yummy chardonnay and great stories that made her laugh until she cried. She also had an incredible knack for baking THE BEST brownies, which she sometimes sold at local bakeries. Friends and co-workers were always thrilled to receive her brownies on birthdays and special occasions. Karen's life was blessed a little over a year ago with the adoption of Sophie, her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. The two became inseparable companions and Sophie's love was always a source of strength for Karen. Karen is survived by her loving sister and brother-in-law, Mary Ann and Michael Brison of San Jose, as well as her nephew Sean Brison of Dallas, Texas. She also leaves a tremendous circle of dear friends and colleagues. Her special girlfriends, who stayed by her side throughout, will miss her steadfast spirit, unwavering devotion and generous heart. Karen also will be missed by many close friends and associates across the country in the Public Television community. Karen's family and friends would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff who cared for her at O'Connor, Good Samaritan, Stanford and Los Gatos Hospitals. Special thanks to Dr. James Lilja, Dr. Steven Scates, Dr. Arash Padidar and Dr. John Chan for their excellent care and support, as well as Victoria Lathrop, CNA, whose companionship was invaluable during her illness. Special thanks also to the staff of Vasona Creek Healthcare Center. Friends are invited to a Celebration of Karen's life to be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, September 9, 2006, at the Chapel of the Oaks at Oak Hill Funeral Home, 300 Curtner Avenue in San Jose. For those who would like to honor Karen's memory, the family requests that donations may be made in her name to the American Cancer Society, Cancer Research, 747 Camden Avenue, Campbell, CA 95008, or to Odyssey Health Care Hospice, 1500 Hamilton Avenue, Suite 212, Campbell, CA 95008.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Sept. 7 to Sept. 8, 2006
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