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Karen A. Sullivan

Karen A. Sullivan

September 4th, 1942 August 31st, 2020

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Obituary

Obituary for Karen A. Sullivan (Ploeger)

Sullivan, Karen A. (Ploeger), 77, of Cambridge, MA, peacefully passed away at her home on August 31, 2020.

Karen was the beloved daughter of the late Henry C. Ploeger and Evelyn M. (Short). Born on September 4, 1942 in St. Louis, MO, she called many places home throughout her early years. However, Karen’s most treasured home was in Cambridge, where she put down her family roots and tenderly nourished those roots - and their myriad of treasured shoots - for over 55 years.

Karen was the loving mother of Nancy B. (Sullivan) Bakanowsky and her husband Louis J. III of Ashburnham, MA; and Paul J. Sullivan, Jr. and his wife Nicole J. of Novato, CA. She was the proud grandmother of: Hannah A. (Bakanowsky) Skey and her husband Kyle D. of Ashburnham, MA; Louis J. Bakanowsky IV and his fiancée Allison A. of North Andover, MA; and Molly R. Sullivan and Tessa E. Sullivan of Barrington, RI. Karen was also the incredibly proud great-grandmother of Sophia G. Skey of Ashburnham, MA; the dear sister of Nancy C. Ploeger of NYC, NY; and dear friend of Carol Mahoney of Cambridge, MA.

Karen was universally known for her gentle and gracious nature. During her lifetime, colleagues, friends, and neighbors often spoke of her seemingly infinite kindness, compassion, and thoughtfulness. Family and friends were at the core of Karen’s life, and just as she lovingly tended to her beautiful gardens, she did the same with each person fortunate to have been a part of her life.

A private Funeral Mass will be held at St. Peter’s Church, in Cambridge. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Karen’s memory to: McLean Hospital, 115 Mill St., Mail Stop 126, Belmont, MA 02478-9106, or online at mcleanhospital.org/give

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Michael Best

Jane and I became the owners of the unit above Karen at 124 Lexington Avenue. Karen was not simply a wonderful neighbour but became a much-loved, and very dear friend and not just of us but our whole family. Karen and I were born one year apart and for nearly three decades shared life experiences often in lengthy long-distance telephone conversations. Everyone knows that Karen was extremely kind with a keen moral compass and never self-centred, but I doubt many people knew the sides of Karen we knew. Behind Karen’s quiet and reticent demeaner was a wise thoughtfulness and keen sense of humour. We had so many wonderful conversations and hearty laughs about just about everything. I valued immensely the advice she gave about the ups and downs of all six of our children. Karen met them all, remembered their names, callings, and problems. Her good sense about the upcoming generation (and later even the one after that) was always a help. Anyone would be lucky to have someone as wise, considerate, and interested as Karen with whom to talk through life’s conundrums. We have wonderful memories of a lovely woman which will never fade.
Michael Best and Jane Humphries
Comment | Posted at 06:35am via Condolence
BA

Brenda Rezak Acevedo

I'm a friend of Nancy Ploeger, Karen's sister. I'd like to send my condolences to the Sullivan family on the passing of Nancy's sister, Karen. I know how much Nancy cared and loved her.
Brenda Rezak Acevedo
Comment | Posted at 05:34pm via Condolence
NB

Nancy Bakanowsky

My Mother kept a garden.
A garden of the heart;
She planted all the good things,
That gave my life it’s start.

She turned me to the sunshine,
And encouraged me to dream:
Fostering and nurturing
The seeds of self-esteem.

And when the winds and rains came,
She protected me enough;
But not too much, she knew I’d need
To stand up strong and tough.

Her constant good example,
Always taught me right from wrong;
Markers for my pathway
To last my whole life long.

I am my Mother’s garden,
I am her legacy.
And I hope today she feels the love,
Reflected back from me.
Comment | Posted at 02:11pm via Condolence
PC

Poly Cobb

I will miss Karen. I will miss the quick conversations we had as we passed on Lexington Ave., the longer ones when life seemed dark, the funny ones like when a moving truck got caught between two snow banks during an absurd effort to make a U turn in January, and the poignant ones when we lost someone we both cherished. Karen worked as an Election Inspector when I was Commissioner and was not only always reliable (no surprise there!) but cared about voting and helping people to do it. No seeing her in her garden will be hard, but harder still the loss of the always warm smile and her sweet disposition. My sympathy goes to Paul and Nancy in their great loss.
Comment | Posted at 10:28am via Condolence
PS

Paul Sullivan

Thank you for kind words, Polly. Lexington Ave continues to be a haven for goodness and light. My best to you and yours. Peace and Love. Paul
Posted at 02:19pm
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