Karen Michelle Winston Wilson
August 16, 1961 – June 25, 2019
Karen Michelle Winston Wilson’s journey began August 16, 1961, at the Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington D.C. The family who loved Karen from childhood and nurtured her into adulthood included her parents, Richard and the late Barbara Winston, and three brothers, Richard Winston Jr., Todd Winston and Randall Winston. The family who loved the remarkable woman Karen became included her soulmate and beloved husband, Paul Wilson, her daughter, Della Wilson and a collection of sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces and nephews who brought joy to Karen’s life.
At an early age, Karen demonstrated that she had followed in her father’s footsteps, exhibiting an aptitude for running track. She would go on to excel in basketball and volleyball as well. While enjoying the sense of belonging that sports brought to her life as her family moved around the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest, she discovered her other passion: art. Karen derived great enjoyment from the hours she spent drawing and writing poetry. Her reward was the response she received after giving something handmade and heartfelt. One early example was when, as a young girl, Karen was inspired to write a poem about Brian Piccolo, having been profoundly moved by the film “Brian’s Song.” Barbara Winston, Karen’s mother, sent the poem to Brian Piccolo’s widow. Karen received a warm, personal letter, thanking her for the kindness.
Karen graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in advertising and graphic arts. She put her degree to use by working as an advertising account executive at J. Walter Thompson and later running several sales territories for the McDonald’s Corporation. Karen was a star professional just as she had been a star athlete. She was witty, upbeat and lived her life with grace and dignity, rarely complaining or slowed down by the enormous health challenges she surmounted brought on by Lupus.
Karen spent the last twenty-one years married to the love of her life, Paul Wilson, and mother to Della Wilson. Karen took great pride in her many accomplishments, but perhaps found the most pleasure and fulfilment in her roles as wife and mother. Karen passed on the morning of June 25, 2019. Her passing leaves an enormous hole in the lives of all who knew and loved her.
Karen Michelle Winston Wilson’s memorial and life celebration will be September 4th at The Breakers Hotel Palm Beach.
The family asks that you consider making a donation in Karen’s honor at the Lupus Foundation of America:
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Karen Michelle Winston Wilson
September 27, 2019
I met Karen and Paul at a neighborhood party around 1998 and Karen and I immediately hit it off. We had a DC and Chicago connection.
Karen and I shared recipes and our love for cooking. Our girls Taylor and Della were close in age so we had a lot to talk about. Our shopping trips and lunch afternoons were always filled with Karen’s wit and infectious laugh, our private jokes.
I am blessed for the time I had Karen as a friend and miss her.
I always liked this beautiful photo of Karen and Taylor from December 2015
September 27, 2019
I met Karen over eighteen years ago, She was my neighbor who soon became my friend. Karen was filled with love and compassion, always ready to give a helping hand even as she herself needed a hand.
Karen as you take your rest I just want to leave some last words :
‘Where there is love,
guilt loses its edge,
judgement forgets to judge,
fear is no longer afraid,
separation is over.
Where there is LOVE,
you were there.
Goodbye my friend. Rest In Eternal Peace.
September 3, 2019
The first time I met Karen was at a Lupus event in Los Angeles circa 2007. She walked in the room STRONG and BEAUTIFUL - with a red rose in her hair. I soon found out that her inner beauty was even more beautiful than her physical presence. Throughout the years I came to appreciate Karen as someone easily liked, fun to hang with, always smiling, ready to give a hug, interesting to talk to, multi-faceted, talented and CRAZY about her family. She was the epitome of womanhood and I am a better woman for having known her. The last time we exchanged words I told Karen she was a FORCE and she continues to be so in those that knew her and loved her. Karen, we will miss you always and cherish the memories we were lucky enough to have shared. Love you.
September 1, 2019
Dear Winston and Wilson families, and extended family of Karen,
I’ll always remember meeting Karen for the first time. . during our Hawaii days, and deciding right away I wanted to be her friend and she mine. It was ‘like at first sight’ - as with everyone who was lucky enough to be in her orbit.
Karen had a ‘lightness of being’ that made me and our friends happy just to be with her. So much love and joy, silliness and laughter into tears that I am missing terribly. Though, I think my heart has grown to make more space for her being with me.. us, always in spirit and love.
I hope you will all find a little more peace each passing day, knowing you’ve community.. Karen’s constellation, in all of us, to help buoy you through this time and always.
With love and fond aloha and remembering Barbara on her day..
August 29, 2019
I started out as the babysitter next door and ended up becoming like family..❤️ Karen, I know living with lupus was hard but that hardly held you back from being the insightful, warm hearted, supportive, welcoming, hard working, phenomenal and caring individual I got the chance to know. Your legacy is a beautiful one. I will be there for Della always.. don’t worry she is covered and loved tremendously. I will miss you.
August 27, 2019
I met Karen on the same night that I met the love of my life, her brother Randall, my now husband of 21 years. Truth be told, I hit it off more with Karen that night than I did with Randall! Despite our eleven year age difference(which she would never admit to, nor would anyone suspect due to her exquisite beauty)We became fast friends and shared our love of cooking, dining out, and talking about our families. NEVER had I heard of a family so loving and supportive. I do not mean that in the typical familial way, it was different than I have known. They were all equals , and they were all best friends...I needed to know them all! Due to my friendship with Karen it was easy to keep in touch with Randall even though he lived in LA , and I in Boston. Eventually I moved to New York and became roommates with Randall. Karen was so happy that her brother and I were getting closer, and would eventually end up together. I have said a thousand times, that one of the best things about marrying Randall was that one of my best friend became my sister, and we would be connected forever. I love her so much and will miss that smile and laugh everyday. I thank her for being my sister, and making me truly feel like a member of the Winston family.
August 24, 2019
Please accept our sincere sympathy. We think of the Winston Family with fond memories from our days in Park Forest, IL. Love and prayers for all the family.
Molly and Bill Norwood
August 21, 2019
Karen was one in a million. Very few people can light up a room and put a smile on people's faces like Karen could. My fondest memories of her were at MSU. We lived in Wilson Hall ( a little foreshadowing?), and then lived in an off campus apartment together the summer of our sophomore year. We danced to Rick James' "Super Freak", ate frozen McDonalds hash brown patties (thank you Mr. Winston!), belly laughed over her crush on Michael Jackson, and woke up early in the morning to see Lady Di marry Prince Charles.
Karen was my Superhero. I will miss her, but I am so, so grateful to have had her and her family bless my life.
Rest in Peace Friend,
Anne Haubold Glenny
August 19, 2019
Karen and I met in 1979 at Michigan State University. Her bright eyes, her infectious smile, and her ability to tell a story made her room a popular place. We shared a similar family background of caring involved parents, three brothers/no sisters, a black lab mix dog we adored, and the knowledge of what Lupus is (my grandmother had it). She approved of my boyfriend, Jay, who we both met in 1980 at MSU and she stood up in our wedding. When I was invited to Karen’s bridal shower in Detroit, I knew by talking to and seeing Karen radiate love and happiness that Paul and Karen were meant to be together. Several years ago, Jay and I and sons (3) began trips to Florida to visit Jay’s parents and the twice a year, three-hour lunches at PF Changs began. We shared parenting stories. Della, she loved being a mom and she was so proud of you. She loved her brothers and their families and was proud of their career successes. Karen shared how her dad came and helped around the house and how she experienced signs that her mother was still looking out for her from above. More recently Paul and Karen, Jay and I have met for lunch, the guys would go play golf and we could talk the whole time they were gone. Luke 12:32. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” There are different estimates of exactly how many times Jesus speaks some variation of “Do not be afraid.” When we are in the midst of life, and especially when we are trying to picture an invisible and unknown future, it is easy to be afraid. There is so much we don’t know…so much we don’t understand. On Monday, June 24th I awoke to find that Karen had texted me a selfie from her hospital bed. Her eyes are bright, her smile is infectious, she looks amazing I text back and thank her for putting a smile on my face. She looks like all of those things but she does not look afraid. I could never tell a story like Karen could but I wanted to write this one.
August 18, 2019
We will miss you Aunty Karen
August 18, 2019
August 18, 2019
August 18, 2019
August 18, 2019
August 18, 2019
“Did I ever tell you about the time!!”
This was Karen’s and my strapline.
We laughed every time she said it.
But let me tell you about the time I met Karen, my sister in law
She grabbed me, kissed me and said, I am going to like you
And yes, she did like me, love me, looked after me whenever I was over.
I get a pain inside when I think of her, but suddenly a smile appears across my face... as I just think of her saying
Nataly (in an English accent and pursing her lips “Did I ever tell you about the time”.
August 18, 2019
This will be a little longer than others but we had history.
So I arrived at Orlando airport with my chaperone and a smiling big glasses lady is walking I said I’m sure this is her
Hi D yes, this was Karen Winston Wilson the wedding pics and videos and stories all had come together in one. I gave her a big. Cuddle and young Della too and she signed my papers and off we went.
This was my first encounter but it was of love and security and just upbeat energy. Karen gave this to everyone every time.
Next year was Miami I was back hi d big cuddles kisses where’s Paul at golf don’t worry I made cookies
Omggggg now if u want to live that cookie life or even testing food life ...again it was Karen. Are u hungry? Guess u don’t know me too well ....of course.
Now again my favorite thing in life is food and cookies Karen made always something amazing but her royal special spag Bol we are English this comes after a roast so that was amazing and her special containers where u can always find it in the fridge was great times
Wait I didn’t finish yet now next is cars so what does Karen do can u drive...errrmm yes ok let’s go in the Mercedes. Jesus Christ sorry for blasphemy but I’m rolling in Mercedes c class in Florida I had to put Tupac on . ...picture me rolling. .Karen clicking her fingers big glasses but I’m not rolling with hoochies .....I’m with my family so it’s the clean edit.
Me and Paul would always be proving who is strongest of course at 15 I can beat my uncle not!!!!!! ....but Karen me and him would have a royal rumble on the brown sofa and enjoy a friendly test of strength
All I can say is from day 1 she was consistent with love energy and comfort and there is one thing in life consistency is key
Love u, Karen
August 18, 2019
If you ever arrived at Karen’s you would feel instantly at home. If there wasn’t breakfast cooking she would be making something delicious or sending Paul out to get something so she could make you a cocktail. My best afternoons were spent driving down to the beach or sitting outside eating fish tacos and margaritas enjoying life. If you knew my auntie Karen then you know you were loved you were cared for you were safe and you was about to have a lot of fun . From Christmas dinner in the house to partying up in south beach for my birthday we always had the best times but I will miss her love and they way she said my name the most ❤❤
August 13, 2019
Carmen Filippini & Fiance’ Dana Pekunece
We met Paul and Karen early in our relationship in 2015. We decided to take golf lessons from Paul, Karen joining afterwards for a dinner which turned into a beautiful friendship. They were a part of our engagement party and we were so happy to be a part of their beautiful birthday celebration, with the dearest family members on August 16.
One of the best times we had together when Paul and Karen joined us on our boat one Sunday afternoon. We laughed, danced and ate Oysters and drank beer till sundown. I’ll never forget that happy day.
It was awhile before we knew Karen’s health was failing. She was a very proud women she made everyone comfortable and never made anyone in her presence feel that she was suffering. Karen had the loving support of her husband, daughter and amazing family and friends.
I, Carmen, had opened a small hair studio and had the honor of being Karen’s personal stylist for a Fundraiser Gala Karen was attending. I was honored and we had a girls day with champagne and many laughs. Karen’s words were so sweet. “ Thank you Carmen, Cinderella had a Ball”.
God bless you Karen we will miss your beautiful smile. Prayers for Paul, Della and family members. .
Carmen & Dana
August 12, 2019
It is with overwhelming sadness and sorrow to say goodbye to our wonderful, loving friend and companion for many great occasions for which Jeffery and I will miss and never forget. Karen's laughter, quick wit and beautiful smile was truly unparalleled in our lives and will never be duplicated. The special, loving friendship that we shared with Karen ended much too soon. Love and prayers for Paul, Della and all family.
With all our love,
Tracy & Jeffery
August 2, 2019
Karen and I met on our first day working together at JWT. We bonded instantly. We agreed to go to lunch together both stating to one another we weren’t hungry and would just be having a soft drink or something light. We then looked in each others eyes and laughed and said ‘I’m starving; let’s eat!‘ It was the first of many great meals shared as we both loved food a lot!
Karen and I shared so much but what will always remain for me is the laughter. I close my eyes now and I can hear her voice, her giggle, see her smile. She had that magic we find in few and it‘s so precious you want to bottle it.
There are so many funny stories I could share. What I will do instead is promise to my friend to visit with Della one day soon and share those memories. She will surely get a laugh at the stories and that would have made Karen most happy I‘m certain.
I will always cherish the moments and will remember Karen and have her in my heart forever until one day when maybe we might meet again...for a little bite somewhere 😉
July 30, 2019
Very sorry I cannot be there to pay my respects. I truly wanted to see you and your family because they were very gracious to me during some pretty dark times. Please tell everyone that my thoughts and prayers are with them. You have an incredible family and I really wanted to see them all again. Karen will remain in my heart forever. She was the most incredible woman I have ever met. I tell stories about her to my Wife and Daughter and they both wanted to meet her. Cannot tell you how much she means to me. One of the greatest people ever in my life.
July 21, 2019
My Darling Karen I miss your touch your voice your Love your everything. The reality hurts so much that I can't breathe.
I'll always be your baby.
July 6, 2019
Dear Mr. Dick and Todd,
I know you must be feeling very sad and missing Karen a lot and I thought it might make you smile if I told you a funny story about her. In 2012 when I was six years old and visiting Poppy Jim and Pepe for the summer, someone used to always read me a story at night. One night the book I picked was called The Foot Boot by Dr. Seuss. That night, Aunt Joy was the designated reader. She and I were both surprised when we turned to the first page and found out that the book was an edited version that included funny comments and illustrations by Karen. Aunt Joy remembered that Karen had given it to her as a gift in high school. Apparently they had teased each other about their large feet and had complained to each other about never finding shoes on sale, because the only ones left are always little feet shoes. Now that I am 13, I know how that feels because my shoe size is 9 1/2. Anyway, Aunt Joy read me The Foot Book, but along the way, she fibbed about a few things. On the page where the rhyme was “low feet, high feet” Karen had drawn a little marijuana cigarette. Aunt Joy told me it was a high jump bar. In another place, the rhyme was “In the house and on the street, how many, many feet you meet.” Karen underlined “on the street” and then wrote a reference to 8 Mile Road and Woodward. I am pretty sure that intersection is not part of a beautiful running route, like Aunt Joy suggested. Anyway, we had a fun time reading that book with all of Karen’s additions, even if I didn’t understand all of them then. As I got older I continued to look at the book sometimes, and I really liked figuring out the real meaning of stuff. I also remembered Aunt Joy’s stories about what a great hurdler and quarter-miler Karen had been, either despite or because of having big feet, and how funny she was. I hope you have some memories like mine that always make you smile.
Linda Pavlon Zukin
July 5, 2019
My heart is broken for you Della, Paul, Rick, Rick, Todd, Randy and your kids. Karen was truly an illuminating force. So fun, so thoughtful, interesting, hysterically funny, and so quick to crack up. She was a big part of my childhood and gratefully part of my adulthood. She was a loving, supportive friend to my sister and easily became a cherished member of our family. She fought her illness like the champ she was and loved her peeps with equal intensity. I’m comforted knowing she’s with her mom and left us all knowing we were loved, and more importantly how loved she was by so many. Love you Winst! You’re in my heart forever and ever and ever and ever.
July 4, 2019
I’m so sad from this news—You were just the coolest kid from such an amazing family - love Carolyn (Samuels) Koblin