Karen Ann Barnes (nee Healy), aged 78, formerly of Chicago, passed away peacefully on August 15 at her home in San Rafael, California, after a courageous fight against ovarian cancer, surrounded by her loving children Kathleen Sonderby (Rich Ross), Chris Sonderby (Jill), Jennifer Sonderby (Seth Blacher), and Shannon Barnes. She is also survived by her seven adoring grandchildren (Max, Eliza, Madeline, Lauren, Graham, Ari, and Leo) and preceded in death by her parents Robert and Catherine Healy, brothers Robert and William, and spouses Peter Sonderby and Robert Barnes.
Karen was born on May 23, 1943, and grew up on Longwood Drive in Beverly. She attended Mother McCauley High School, where she played basketball and volleyball, before pursuing her teaching degree at Loretta Heights College in Colorado. She later moved to Champaign to teach elementary school and begin raising a family while Peter completed law school. After a long stint in the western suburbs, Karen moved to Puerto Rico in the early 1990s with Robert and Shannon, where they lived happily for nearly two decades, and where Karen's lifelong love of animals led her to spearhead local humane society efforts. Karen returned to Florida before moving to California in recent years to be near family.
Karen found joy and humor in everyday interactions and charmed those around her with her kind heart, magnetic smile, and friendly manner. In these last few years in overcoming illness, Karen taught a masterclass in grit, grace, and gratitude that inspires us to appreciate every moment. Donations can be made to Bay Area Cancer Connections (https://www.bayareacancer.org/
Published by Chicago Tribune on Nov. 24, 2021.