Laurie A. Karch, 47
Laurie A. Karch, 47, Stevens Point, passed away Wednesday, February 26, in a hospital bed in her living room after a heroic, 16-and-one-half-year battle with brain cancer. She was under the care of her family and Aspirus Comfort Care and Hospice.
The family would especially like to thank Anne Swenson, Michele Bjella, Trevor and Julie Roark, Marti and Greg Sowka, Maureen Houlihan, other friends, and aunts Gloria Kolodziej and Gladys Warner for their friendship and support of Laurie during the last year of her life. Laurie would also like to thank her sister Lynelle for the many dimensions of her support and love during that last year. She would also like to thank her mom and dad for their support.
Laurie was born at Saint Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point on July 1, 1966, the daughter of Richard L. and Nancy L. (Kieliszewski) Karch. Laurie attended McDill Elementary School, Ben Franklin Junior High, and graduated from SPASH (where she was on the cross-country team) in 1984. She graduated from the Central Wisconsin College of Beauty and was employed as a cosmetologist here in Stevens Point and as a waitress/server (about ten years at Michele’s Restaurant, where she met her husband) prior to her illness. Laurie taught aerobic courses locally in the 1980s. She was also very dedicated to the local and organic food movement. She was a working member of the Stevens Point Area Coop for about 18 years and worked at Sunny Sky Farm, a local CSA (“Community Supported Agriculture” project), in Amherst Junction since 2002, at the end, because of the brain cancer and the treatments, having to wear a bicycle helmet in the event that she would fall and hurt her head on the stone floor of the barn. Laurie also “ran the books” at a sailing camp in the British Virgin Islands that she ran with her husband in the summer of 1992 and was only a nickel “off” with a $15,000 budget (but “that’s Laurie,” very precise!). She was a volunteer with the Coop at the “Energy Fair” when it was held at the Amherst Fairgrounds.
Laurie valued education and took a goodly number of classes at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP). She enjoyed reading the novels of Jane Austin and Barbara Kingsolver. She also enjoyed and benefitted from yoga classes here in Stevens Point, three times travelling to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
She married Dr. W. John Coletta on May 16, 1992, at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station of UWSP. Laurie and John’s marriage was still strong at the time of her passing. John likes to say that in the 16-and-one-half-years that Laurie battled the debilitating effects of brain cancer and the attendant surgeries and treatments, he never heard her once complain, get angry, or ask “Why me?”
Laurie was an excellent vegetarian and vegan cook (she won a Stevens-Point-Area-Coop chili contest one year). And she won the hearts of her children, nieces, and family members with her amazing homemade ice-cream-cakes (when her husband left any slices for others). She had a tremendous “eidetic” memory, seemingly remembering everything that she had ever experienced! She also loved picture puzzles and word puzzles and knew more names for different varieties of squash and lettuce than I did for people. She was also very observant. In fact, her motto, in her own words, was “Observation is the key to preservation.”
Laurie is survived by her husband John, son John Clark, daughter Emily, parents Richard and Nancy, brother Brian (wife Jackie), sister Lynelle (husband Dan) Martinson, grandparents Dan and Irene (Karpinski) Karch, and nieces Danielle, Sydney, and Jordan Karch. Laurie is also survived by numerous and loving aunts, uncles, and cousins. Laurie is also survived by her father-in-law Rosario C. Coletta, mother-in-law Julia (Savoye) Coletta. She is also survived by a brother-in-law, two sisters-in-law, and by six nephews and nieces on the east coast of the United States. She was preceded in death by maternal grandparents Edward and Helen (Fisher) Kieliszewski.
There will be a visitation from 4 pm till 7 pm at the Boston Funeral Home in Stevens Point, WI, on Saturday, March 1, 2014. The time and date of her memorial dinner at Michele’s Restaurant will be announced later. In line with her environmental values, Laurie will have a green burial at Natural Path Sanctuary, affiliated with the Linda and Gene Farley Center for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, in Verona, Wisconsin. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in her name to Central Rivers Farmshed. Online condolences may be made at www.bostonfuneralhome.net.
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