Karen G. Simonsen

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Karen G. Simonsen, 71, of Vero Beach, Fla. and formerly of Manhasset, passed away peacefully after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s Disease on Oct. 2, while surrounded by her loving family. She was the beloved wife of Gene Simonsen and loving mother of Katherine Vaughan, Clinton Vaughan, Margaret Vaughan and Elizabeth Vaughan.  She is survived by close family and countless friends who love her.
Karen was born in Manhasset, NY, daughter of the late Johnny Van Name and William Glatfelter.  She attended Ripon College and afterward settled in New York where she raised her family. She devoted her time to working with charities such as the Junior League and Family & Children’s Association.
In 2001, Karen moved to Vero Beach and settled on John’s Island where she became an active member of the John’s Island community, making many contributions during her 14 years there.  Karen created social platforms within the community for people to connect and feel welcomed and valued.  Some of her accomplishments include The Newcomer’s Club, Friends Making Friends and Pub Night.  In doing so, she created social traditions that will last forever.
Karen was an extraordinary woman which no words can truly express. Her vitality, strength, kindness, determination and friendliness were inspirational and affected everyone around her. The outgoing way she loved people made her so special and truly one of a kind. She was a very wise woman, whom you could always count on to offer truth, delivered in the most sincere and heartfelt way.  She impacted so many lives and was admired and adored by everyone who crossed her path.  Her endless sense of humor was contagious and she always wanted to make people laugh, even in sadness. Karen was a bright shining light who enriched everyone’s life who knew her. She will forever be remembered as a loving and devoted spouse, loving mother and true friend to all. Karen was truly larger than life and will always be loved and forever missed. Having her as part of our lives was a true blessing we will always cherish.
In lieu of flowers, Karen asked that donations be directed to support the University of Florida’s Center for Movement Disorders, P.O. Box 100243, Gainesville Fla. 32610-0243 or VNA/Hospice House Foundation, 1110 35th Lane, Vero Beach, Fla. 32963. There will be a Celebration of Life at noon on Nov. 6 at John’s Island Golf Club. A guest book is available at www.strunkfuneralhome.com.

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Elizabeth Johnson is former editor of Manhasset Press and Manhasset Press Magazine. Growing up in nearby Garden City and attending New York University, she is well-versed in the locale and knowledgeable about the beat she covers. Her community involvement is extensive and includes the Manhasset SCA, Kiwanis International, Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, St. Mary’s Church, and various civic and local charitable organizations. Curious by nature, her travels, community service, love of the arts as well as local sports give her the inside view to unique content. During her time at Anton, she has received several awards from the New York Press Association and the Press Club of LI, including the coveted "Best Community Newspaper" several years in a row.

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