Karen Ann Mason
March 19, 1958 – July 6, 2016
Missing you so much this upcoming holiday season!
One of Karen Ann Mason's first glimpses of this big wonderful world was the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean in Gold Beach, Oregon. That March 19 day in 1958, her parents, Robert and Joyce Mason, and big sister Dawn, smiled at her little blue eyes and welcomed her into the family. Due to the nature of her dad's job, Karen and her family moved many times, taking them to several different states. After Gold Beach, Oregon, and a brief stay in Glidden, Wisconsin, Karen and her family arrived in Bemidji, Minnesota, where Karen was so excited to become the big sister to Thomas Mason.
Karen was always curious as to what was beyond the next bend or over the next hill. Her little legs were always climbing. This included, of course, the kitchen cabinets and top of the refrigerator! Always being a little daredevil, at Paul Bunyan Park in Minnesota, her mom and dad agreed that Karen could ride the Ferris wheel with her big sister, even though they were young. When the wheel stopped at the very top, Karen calmly stood up and climbed down to where your feet were supposed to be. With feet dangling and a big smile on her face, she peeked over the edge and waved to everyone down below. Her parents watched helplessly as the ride's operator, ever so slowly, brought Karen safely down. As Karen came off the ride, her parents could finally breathe again, and the crowd cheered.
Her first big move down south took place on St. Patrick's Day. Leaving Minnesota with 4 feet of snow on the ground, Karen was wearing her snowsuit. She arrived at her new home in Elizabethtown to a hot 70 degrees. On a funny note, a new neighbor saw her family arrive in winter clothes. Later, upon seeing the children out playing in the summer clothes, she came over to welcome Karen and her family to their new home and offer to bring more winter clothes if needed! Karen quickly became friends with a family that owned horses and discovered that she loved riding. She could often be seen riding back and forth on horseback from Elizabethtown to Rosiclare. Karen and her friends could also be seen climbing the limestone cliff overlooking the Ohio River, near the gazebo that was used as a lighthouse for river traffic.
After living a brief time in both Elizabethtown and Rosiclare, Karen and her family moved to the big city of Harrisburg. Although the family lived briefly in Springfield, Missouri, Harrisburg became home. Karen attended Malan Junior High and became a cheerleader for the basketball team. Karen was like her father in the fact that she loved nature and often took hikes to view wildlife. She also loved reading. The library was one of her favorite places to go. She excelled in high school. Her teachers often commented during parent-teacher conferences on how intelligent Karen was. She was honored to represent Harrisburg High School in the "Who's Who Among American High School Students" publication.
Karen graduated from Harrisburg High School with the class of 1976, earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1980 from Southeastern Illinois College and took many classes at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Right out of high school, Karen married her best friend, Paul Camp, and moved to Jacksonville, where she became a new homemaker. When Paul transferred back to Harrisburg due to his job, they stayed in Harrisburg for a short time, but decided to move to Carbondale to be closer to the university. Karen got her license to drive a bus and was employed by the Carbondale School District to drive handicapped children to school. Karen and Paul remained best friends, continuing to support each other.
The loss of Karen deeply saddened her family and friends who knew her from this area, and her family living in Michigan. Karen Ann is survived by her parents, Robert and Joyce Mason; Dr. Ron and Dawn McCuan; Thomas and Kandy Mason; Paul Camp; and her two nephews, Daniel Heze and David Robert McCuan.
Out-of-town surviving relatives include Charles Mason, Richard Mason, John and Bess Kurtz, Robert and Joyce Galliher, Tom and Nancy Swearingen and Pat Roberts. Other family members include 18 cousins and many more second cousins.
During this holiday season, Karen's family is so very thankful for having had her in their lives before the Lord called her home. On her final journey, Karen Ann is now forever at peace. Those family members who went on before, and were eagerly waiting to welcome Karen into Heaven, include grandparents, Charles "Deak" and Ruth Mason; grandparents, Ivan and Evelyn Helbig; grandfather, Earnest Helbig; aunts, Madelyn Mason and Helen Mason; and uncles, Norman Helbig, David Helbig and Richard Helbig.
While in Harrisburg, Karen Ann attended St. Stephens Episcopal Church. She also volunteered at various women's centers in the area. Due to Karen's wishes, a traditional obituary was not published earlier. Instead, during this first holiday season without her, Karen's family has decided to remember her by celebrating and honoring her life.
As per her wishes, Karen was cremated. She requested that her ashes be spread around Camp Echo and Pike Lake, her beloved family cabin in the UP of Michigan. She will then forever be known as a permanent "Yooper." She also did not want any special service, so her family abided by her final wishes. Those who would like to honor Karen's life may send a card to her family or donate in her name to the charity of their choice. A few of Karen's favorite charities included area food pantries, The Salvation Army and Goodwill stores and St. Jude Children's Research.