Karen Avis Kennedy passed away Wednesday April 6, 2022. Karen was born in Kansas City, Missouri on September 5, 1947, the daughter of Norma (Nielsen) Blaney of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Ford S. Blaney of Kittanning, Pennsylvania. Karen had one sibling, Ford R. Blaney who was almost 3 years old when Karen was born. She was almost my birthday gift as I was born on September 6. We lived in downtown Overland Park, Kansas on Marty St. Our father was a pilot for TWA ad wanted to fly jets so we moved close to O'Hare Airport in Illinois when we were 6 and 9. We lived in Clarendon Hill and Hinsdale. Karen attended public schools starting in first grade and graduated from High School in 1965. She then took some classes at the Chicago School of Art. She eventually moved to an apartment in downtown Chicago working for Marshall Field's in the display department as a visual merchandiser. Her big break came in 1980 when she answered an ad in the Chicago tribune from Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri; they were looking for a photographer/photo stylist. Karen sent Hallmark her portfolio. They flew her down twice for an interview and she was hired, It was a big raise in pay doing something she thoroughly enjoyed. Karen worked for Hallmark for 12 years from 1980 till 1992. She took her pension in cash and bought the town house we live in now. Our mother lived with Karen until 2005 when she died with Alzheimer's.
Karen's joy in life came from all of her pets - dogs and mostly cats. Also, from her job at Grand Paws pet sitting services where she worked for 9 years up until November of 2021. Karen was married but never had any children. All of her pets were her kids. Karen also worked for Sam's Club from 2000-2012 as food demo person serving free samples.
Karen went to her first concert with me in 1962. We saw the Beach Boys in downtown Chicago. Karen continued going to concerts in big and small venues. Too man to mention, but the highlights were Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor 3 times, Judy Collins 4 times, Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Little Richard, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, David Bowie and Sting. We both love nature and love to travel. We took many trips together! In 2011: South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, 2008 and 2012: St. Maarten, 2013: Chicago to visit her old friends, 2014: Cabo San Lucas, 2015: Sedona, Arizona, Colorado and Utah by train from K.C. Missouri, 2016: St. Maarten, 2017: Alaska Cruise. 2018: Estes Park, Colorado, 2019: Las Vegas, Nevada, Utah and Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, and the North rim of the Grand Canyon. Also, Best Friends in Kenab, Utah, a wonderful no-kill shelter for all types of animals!! 2020, no travel because of the pandemic. 2021: Minnesota on our birthdays to visit her best friend Pam.
Karen passed away suddenly and peacefully at home. She was suffering with Dementia/Alzheimer's at the time, She is survived by her brother Bob, who lived with her since 2007, her best friend for over 60 years, Pam who lives in Minnesota, her friend Debbie who lives in Overland Park, another childhood friend Joy who lives in Oregon, cousins in WIsconsin and Pennsylvania and neighbors who live around us. Also, our two cats Smokey and Midnight who we adopted from Great Plains animal shelter around 7 years ago. Smokey was Karen's buddy, he slept with her every night. Both of our cats are missing Karen as I am. We were always very close! She called me "bro-bro" and I called her "little sister". We grew very close the last few months when she dame down with Alzheimer's. We hugged and said I love you a lot! It was my privilege to take care of her!!In lieu of flowers please donate to: greatplainsspca.org. Casual dress at the visitation, Monday April 18th from 6-8!