Kathryn "Karen" Lee Shay

April 28, 1934February 9, 2021

Kathryn (Karen) Shay 1934 - 2021

Karen Shay left this world on February 9, 2021. The afternoon before her passing, her family was able to talk with her via Zoom, and she seemed at peace. Karen was born on April 28, 1934 in Marysville, WA. She was the first child of Ruth and Mervin Shay.

Karen grew up in Washington State, graduated from Olympia High School, and entered the Novitiate of the Sisters of Providence shortly after her graduation. During her years with the Sisters of Providence she taught elementary school in several places around the country. This included time she served as principal of St. Michael's school in Olympia. She left the convent after 17 years, but continued to teach 5th and 6th grades in the Chicago area. Karen decided to retire and live in her home town, Olympia. She volunteered at a wildlife preserve, and continued to explore her community. Her love of books was very apparent. When you visited her home you would notice that she had more bookcases than any other furniture. For several years, she drove to Portland to visit Powell's and trade books. When she could no longer drive, she took the bus to Barnes & Noble in Olympia at least weekly. Karen and her sisters would get together each year, to visit, and shop a little. If she disappeared while shopping, they would always know where to find her...with the books! She loved traveling, and took advantage of several elder hostel tours, as well as spending time in Europe, where she spent a summer or two in London.

Preceding Karen in death were her parents, and brother Michael.

She is survived by six siblings: Patrick Shay, of Waukesha, WI; Teresa (Teri) Orcutt of Woodburn OR; Judi Behrens of Grand Coulee, WA; Mary Hempeck of Sisters, OR; Nancy Shay of Delmar, NY; and Jon Shay of Milton, FL; 16 nieces and nephews. Also considered family are her beloved partner Fred Hay, and good friends Marilyn and John Seeley.

Her family admired her for her calm demeanor and caring ways She will be missed!


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