9/27/46 – 8/6/21
On the morning of August 6, Karen Eberle of Orcas Island died peacefully at home while in the loving arms of her husband George and her daughter Liane.
A native San Franciscan, Karen was born to Rosemary and Jimmy Hughes. After graduating from Westmore High School in Daly City, she lived and worked in San Francisco.
She met her future husband, George, through mutual friends. They bought their first home in South San Francisco and slowly moved down the Peninsula to warmer weather. As an adult, Karen decided to get a formal education and graduated from the University of Santa Cruz with a B.S. in Psychology at the age of 48.
Karen had a pronounced altruistic streak that touched the lives of so many. Giving up corporate life, Karen became an AIDS caseworker, which she absolutely loved doing. Through her other selfless work, she has helped countless other women battling difficulties in their life, acting as a support system and sharing all she had learned from her own life experiences.
Retirement brought her to Orcas Island, WA in 2001. Her 20 years on the island were spent creating in her art studio, pruning her prized rose bush in her garden, chatting with friends at monthly pinochle games, and with her grandchildren who visited every summer. An active part of the Orcas community, Karen served as junior warden at the Episcopal Church for two years.
Aside from being known for her selfless service to others and warm presence, it was often commented by friends and acquaintances alike that Karen had fantastically eclectic, yet refined taste, as demonstrated by her home, art studio, and her impeccable sense of style. Her style was truly elegant yet accompanied by curious details that made it impossible to emulate.
Always the heart of the family, wherever Karen lived became the center of all family festivities and her presence on Orcas led both of her children, Liane and CJ, to move their respective families to the island to raise their own children near to her.
All five of Karen’s grandchildren came from around the country to spend this past summer on the island with her. Over the past year and a half, Karen faced inoperable lung cancer with bravery and grace, always reassuring her family that she would never truly be gone. She would say, when you see the glitter on the water, she is there smiling at you.
A public memorial service was held on the same day of Karen’s death with the entire church being completely full despite only a few hours’ notice, which is a testament to how many lives on which Karen left a mark.
Her service can be found on the Orcas Island Episcopal Church’s YouTube channel. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, George, daughter Liane and her husband Mark, son CJ and his wife Asya, and grandchildren Connor, Claire, Tara, Ciarán, and Audrey. In lieu of flowers, Karen would hope that you will do something in your own way to give back to and improve the Orcas Island community.
There will be a reception on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 at 11 a.m. at the Episcopal Parish Hall on Main Street. All who would like to share a memory of Karen are welcome.