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Karen S. Ward

July 9, 1947 August 18, 2008
Karen S. Ward
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Obituary for Karen S. Ward

Karen Stevenson Ward July 9,1947-August 18, 2008 Please also visit The world lost an amazing woman on August 18, 2008, and there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. A more loving, gentle, beautiful soul does not exist. Karen was a loving wife, mother, and friend, and she touched the lives of everyone who knew her. She will be dearly missed and never forgotten. Karen possessed a quiet strength that she called on in times of adversity. When Karen was in Kindergarten, she was stricken with polio and was not expected to live. She did live, but her parents were told she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. With a strength and determination of will, Karen defied the doctor�s predictions and taught herself to walk again. From an early age, Karen�s personality showed a deep and caring love for others. Her mother used to joke that they called her a �little mother� for the way she showed such compassion and kindness for all she knew. Karen followed her calling to help others by becoming a registered nurse at the age of 20. Karen�s dear father, Bill Stevenson, was stricken with cancer in 1987. He battled long and hard, but died in September of 1988. Karen took care of him tirelessly and selflessly until his death. Bill had hospice at the end of his life, and Karen was extremely impressed with the loving and personal way they cared for her father. She realized that her true calling was to become a hospice nurse, in order to help ease the transitions of others as well as their families. In 2006, Karen also lost her brother, Wayne Stevenson, to cancer. In March of 2008, her mother, Dulcie Stevenson, died as well. Karen took care of her dear brother and mother until the end, with strength and grace. Although she was grieving, her first thought was to help her niece, nephew and children get through such a difficult time. Karen had battled breast cancer in 2001-2002, and won. She had nearly seven more healthy years to enjoy her husband and family, to travel, and to be made a grandmother two more times. We are fortunate that she was seemingly in perfect health until three weeks before her death. She did not suffer, and was in no pain. She is gone from this world now, and although our family will never be the same, we know that heaven opened up for her and she now has everlasting life. She is survived by her loving husband and soul mate of 40 years, Gary Ward. Their marriage was an example to their children and to everyone who knew them. The love they shared was deep and strong, and will transcend death. Her children, Tony, Melissa, and Adam, have lost a beloved mother. She was our angel on earth, and we were blessed to have the good fortune to call her mother. Her example of strength, love, patience and gentleness will help us get through the hard times ahead. Her grandchildren, Nikki, Savannah, Riley, and Rebecca have lost a dear grandmother. Karen was the kind of grandma who baked cookies with the grandkids, made reindeer food at Christmas, and kept a playhouse stocked with toys in the backyard. She loved them with all her heart and soul, and she will be watching from above as they grow up, get married, and have families of their own. Karen is also survived by a loving son-in-law Kurt Brown, a dear daughter-in-law Lorraine Ward as well as Lorraine's two sons Timmy and Tyler who loved her as a grandmother, her niece and nephew, Sean and Stephanie Stevenson, their mother Elaine, and also their spouses and children; the sister and brother of her heart, Karen and David Fietsam and their children. Living extended family includes: Helen (Stevenson) Harvey, Kay Stevenson, 18 cousins and numerous second cousins; mother-in-law Dorothy Ward; brother-in-law Robert Ward (Chris) and niece Aimee Ward. Celebration of Life memorial service on August 30, 3 PM at John Wesley UMC, 1927 W. Kemper Rd. Cincinnati, OH 45240. In lieu of flowers donations are suggested to the John Wesley UMC Prayer Garden or VITAS Hospice, 11500 Northlake Dr. Suite 400, Cincinnati, OH 45249. The family thanks the staff of VITAS Hospice for their loving care. A FINAL LOVE LETTER August 18, 2008 My Darling Karen, Where to start? After 40 wonderful years as husband and wife, I know we were never closer than during these past 3 weeks since finding out the cancer was back, and then just days ago learning that there was no hope of recovery. I am so grateful that we had a chance to say all we needed to say in that short time. You will always be the love of my life, my best friend and my most tangible connection to God. This morning, minutes after crossing into the next dimension, your final gift was that beautiful, miraculous smile! As we watched you take your final breath your face was contorted and droopy from laboring to breathe. Amber your hospice �angel� was also a witness to the miracle of your face changing from a mask of death into a radiant, unmistakable smile right before our eyes! I can only imagine what you saw as your soul moved from this life to the next that left your face with that smile. Perhaps it was the sight of all those waiting to greet you, with Pap, Mother and Wayne first in line! Or perhaps it was the beauty of heaven as the Lord welcomed you with His loving embrace. Whatever caused it, that smile was your final gift to your family confirming that you were home where there is no cancer, no missing body parts and no death. We thank you for that sign. Tony, Melissa, Adam and I will remember and treasure the sight of that beautiful smile following your death for as long as we live. We will be OK. We will help each other as we all figure out how to live in a world that no longer includes you. You touched the lives of so many and left them better for having known you. I am the best and luckiest example of that! Forgive me for those times when I hurt or disappointed you. Those times were few, but I trust that I made up for them by sharing in a love few people are privileged to enjoy. This is not the end of �us�. We will be together again, in God�s time. Until then, know that I count the minutes until we are reunited for all eternity. Love Forever, Gary THE BEGINNING Perhaps the snow brought Christmas magic. It had been falling off and on for two days, and it would snow more that night, the night of their first date. At 15 the boy was still too young to drive, and at his insistence his dad agreed to do a �drive by� in the light of day to make sure they could find her house after dark. As they drove by slowly, he saw a man retrieving mail from her mailbox. It was the first time the boy saw her father, a man destined to become as close to him as his own parents. The boy was nervous as he dressed for the date that would forever change his life. Weeks before, he had finally summoned the courage to ask her to the Christmas dance. She agreed immediately, which took him by surprise, and without thinking he responded, �Don�t you have to ask your mother?� She smiled at his question and sweetly replied, �No.� Now he was putting on a new sport coat bought for this occasion while his father tied his tie. Somehow the boy knew this night would be special and he said that to his father who was now carefully driving to her house through the falling snow. His dad nodded, but the boy was sure on this night he did not yet understand. She opened her door as the boy knocked. She wore a white dress with a red sash around the waist. Their eyes met, she smiled and his heart melted. He offered the box containing a red carnation corsage which she took before introducing her mother, brother and father. He pulled off his glove before offering a firm right hand to her father, instinctively knowing it was the right thing to do. Through falling snow on that magical night 45 years ago, December 2

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