Obituaries

Karen Marlene Myers

July 24, 1945 - August 21, 2021

Karen Marlene Myers (nee. Nitz), 76, of St. Charles, IL., passed away peacefully on Saturday, August 21, 2021, surrounded by her family at Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva, IL.

Karen was born on July 24, 1945, in Elgin, IL., the daughter of Perley and Esther (nee. Frost) Nitz. Karen grew up on Elgin’s west side. As the “baby” of 11 older brothers and sisters she grew up amongst a loving family. Although certainly teased as the youngest she got the last word many years later at a family gathering when she claimed that mom and dad had SO many kids because they couldn’t stop until they got it right. This statement left her siblings speechless.

Karen was a member of the last single graduating class at “old” Elgin High (1963) prior to the opening of Larkin and “new” Elgin High. There she studied Bookkeeping and Accounting-Business. Karen held bookkeeping and accounting roles at Bunge’s Appliance, Roselle Beechcraft, Kmart (Elgin), Fyrenetics, and the Little Traveler. Additionally, Karen served as a Designer/Arranger of dried florals for the Straw Flower Shop in Geneva. Lastly it would be her work in the Elgin field office of the 1980 U. S. Census that would align with her flourishing love of genealogy.

Karen would meet her husband Leroy “Lee” John Myers Jr. during a bachelorette party when he assisted her and her friends with changing a flat tire. The two would not connect that day but their paths would once again cross several weeks later at teen dance night at the Blue Moon Ballroom in Elgin. They were inseparable from then on and were united in marriage on November 22, 1963, in Glen Ellyn, IL. During their courtship Karen and Lee would go on to win several dance contests including one on Jim Lounsbury’s show Danceville U. S. A. which was televised in Chicago. Lounsbury would occasionally guest host for Dick Clark on American Bandstand.

Karen had a lifelong interest in the arts and crafts, knitting and crocheting, calligraphy, sketching, oil and watercolor painting, and dried floral arranging.  She gifted many of her knitted and crocheted afghans, slippers, scarves and hats to family and friends, most notably a fisherman knit baby blanket she had crocheted many years prior to the birth of her granddaughter. When presented by her daughter-in-law with the identical pattern with the request for the soon to arrive baby, the blanket was already complete. She displayed her other creations at local arts and crafts shows including Craftworks co-operative Annual Holiday show at Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve and Scarecrow Festival in St. Charles.

It was in fact during a calligraphy class that Karen was introduced to the study of genealogy by fellow student and founder of the Elgin Genealogical Society (EGS), Pat Robbins Lose. Although having been interested in genealogy since a family tree project in seventh grade this renewed interest in the field aligned with Karen’s record keeping skill as a bookkeeper and with her love of family. For Karen the study of her genealogy was more than just how far back she could trace her roots but rather in the interesting stories of how her family had lived their lives. To this end, Karen frequently “interviewed” family in person and over the phone and exchanged letters with members of the family far and wide to gain understanding through their memories and reflections of family members long passed to discover what made them tick, made them move or immigrate, made them choose their profession or their mate, in other words the stuff that breathes life into a family tree.

As a member of the EGS since 1978 Karen has served as the organization’s Treasurer, President, and Editor of the quarterly newsletter. Being thankful for early guidance she received in her genealogical research Karen has additionally given “Genealogy for Beginners” workshops at local libraries, churches and at Elgin Community College. Karen also helped found the genealogy volunteers’ group at the Gail Borden Public Library to organize volunteers and volunteer herself to help beginners and out-of-towners navigate the library’s Genealogy section. Karen’s gentle smile and affable disposition has afforded many a beginning genealogist the opportunity to begin their journey in the right direction. Lastly, Karen’s artistic skills and love of genealogy merged once more in the cover art she penned for the EGS’s book, Kane County Illinois Early Pioneers 1833-1885 to which she also contributed the section outlining the lineage of early Kane County pioneer Charles Bates to the Myers family.

Spiritually, Karen was baptized and confirmed Evangelical Lutheran (St. Paul’s Evangelical and Reformed Church of Elgin) and was an enduring Christian. As an avid reader and a lifelong learner, Karen also studied many religions, mystical philosophies and spiritual paths. These studies helped Karen understand and accept these other paths while strengthening her own faith. Karen loved Christmas and in addition to decorating her own home, as a docent of the Elgin Area Historical Society Museum she helped decorate Old Main (the museum) on the Elgin Academy campus. In recent years Karen decorated shop windows with Christmas antiques and collectables at the Warehouse Antiques and Confectionary store in St. Charles, IL.

Karen is survived by her husband, her son Brian (Claudine P. Giebs) Myers, her grandchildren Josephine and Joshua Myers, her brother Gale (Olivia “Lee” Guanci), and sisters Donna Rudat, Pearl Angela “Angie” Michaelis, LaVonne Mullinax, sister-in-laws Karen L. (Huske) Nitz, Sandra “Sandy” (Bell) Nitz, many nieces, nephews and grandnieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, brothers Perley, Elroy, Earl, Victor, William “Bill”, Gerald “Jerry”, brothers-in-law Donald “Don” Rudat Sr., Merlin “Herb” Mullinax, and sisters-in law Pamela “Pam” (Cantile) Nitz, Barbara (Lundy) Nitz, and Erika Margate “Marga” (Knochel) Nitz.

A celebration of her life will be held at 10:30 A.M., on October 2, 2021, at St. John United Church of Christ, 1475 W. Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067. Visitation will begin at 9:30 A.M. with burial to follow at St. John’s Church, Mount Hope Cemetery. Memorial donations may be made to the Sanfilippo Foundation for the St. John's 1885 Organ Maintenance Fund or to the Elgin Genealogical Society. For additional information please contact Moss-Norris Funeral Home at (630) 584-2000 or www.mossfuneral.com.

Guest Book

  • Todd Rudat So sad to hear of the unexpected calling home of my Aunt and Godmother Karen. I know this is especially hard on Brian and Claudine and Josephine and Joshua, not mention on my own mom and all of Karen's other surviving siblings. She was a terrific Aunt and Godmother to me and as a strong Christian myself, I know today she is in heaven with Jesus and all is good for her because of the grace of God she so strongly believed in. I remember her beautiful home on River Bluff in Elgin and of many visits with her to Trout Park to play and picnic or to Wing Park to swim or to Santa's Village and on and on and on. I still have some of her artwork on my wall at home here in Oklahoma as a constant reminder of her love and talent. She is missed by so many I know, I am just so grateful to have had the times we had and that she got to meet and love on my boys as well. Prayers of comfort and peace and joyous memories to her family and friends who mourn her loss.