30 Aug 1947 – 19 Jan 2021
Karen, at age 73, died suddenly and peacefully at home with her husband Stuart at her side. They met in high school at the age of 14 and had been married for 40 years on 27 December just passed.
Karen Anne Kwasnica was born in Kelowna, eldest child of Steve Kwasnica and Irene (nee Rose), long- time Oliver residents also both deceased. Karen is survived by her husband Stuart Syme, her children Wes Gale (Jen Alder) and Nadia Gale (Charles Hoare), her step-son Ian Syme, her grand-daughter Phaedra Gale (Louis Au), her step-grand-son Benjamin Syme, her siblings Marie Leiren, John Kwasnica, and David Kwasnica (Lynn Price), and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Karen was a voracious reader who owned not only an extensive collection of first editions, but eight feet of library dedicated to leather bound classics and three overfull Kindle DX’s – the only model she would use. She studied Biology and Physics, not formally, but as a hobby. When a dear friend, who at the time was in his last year of seminary, visited for tea and said that they had been studying Spinoza that week, she instantly asked which of the following translations were they reading and not waiting for an answer, expressed her opinion about the best and worst. When she met her new son-in-law, her first question was “What is your philosophy of life?” He wisely responded, “What is yours?” and she judged him a ‘keeper’.
Karen was a questioner, a thinker, and a seeker of truth. Karen was Mother Earth – there was never an animal that did not instantly bond with her. Karen was a gardener and every plant was fitted with wheels until they found a permanent place where they could thrive. Each of them had their histories recorded in hand-written notes organized in three-ring binders. A computer might have been better suited to that task but computers were not to be trusted. Karen was unable to add a column of numbers without a calculator – and she did not trust a calculator that did not produce a written record – which made her perfectly suited to be a bookkeeper and, though not a papered accountant, a self-trained accountant who handled the financial records of several companies over the years. Her first job was as a lifeguard and nanny to a family of five who spent theirm summer on Lake Simcoe. Her earnings funded the material for her to make her own wardrobe for school. Her most-loved job was on a working farm that housed and helped young offenders and emotionally scarred youth.
Karen was an air-force brat and became an Army wife. You may have met her in Borden, North Bay, Marville, Burnaby, Vancouver, Kelowna, Victoria, Penhold, Ottawa, Oliver, or Grand Forks.
You would remember.
There will be a celebration of life and a chance to tell true tales when we can all travel again. Should you wish to donate in Karen’s name then the family suggests lupus, diabetes, or heart-health research.
Condolences and tributes may be directed to the family by visiting www.nunes-pottinger.com