Cover photo for Karen Wilson's Obituary
Karen Wilson Profile Photo
1950 Karen 2023

Karen Wilson

October 6, 1950 — August 5, 2023

Hurley, NY - Ms. Karen Lee Wilson, born to the late Martha Long and Robert Wendell Wilson on October 6, 1950 in Prospect, Ohio, died at age 72 on August 5, 2023 at her home in Hurley, NY after a short illness. 

Karen is survived by her daughters Cicily Wilson (Greg Speller) and Chaney Sims, her step-children Tina Barnes (Danny), and William Hill, her siblings Nell Plaine (Paul) and Jayne Wilson, loving grandchildren, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. Including her parents, Karen is preceded in death by her husband and partner of over 50 years William (Bill) Sims, Jr. and granddaughter Jazlyn Barnes.

Karen was a retired Human Resources Specialist who worked for Continental Grain for over 45 years. Karen loved her job, her colleagues, and she often mentioned how lucky she was to land at such a wonderful company doing something she enjoyed since she was just “a kid from a small town in Ohio.”

Karen was also internationally regarded, and often recognized, as the subject of a 10-part PBS documentary series, “An American Love Story.” The series highlighted the story of her partnership with Bill, and their everyday nuances, struggles and successes as an interracial couple who moved from the midwest to New York City to chase their dreams, build a life together and raise their children. She was able to travel with the film as it garnered worldwide acclaim at various festivals including Sundance, Berlin & Nyon among others, which instilled a passion for travel.

Karen was industrious, adventurous and often regarded by those close to her as one of the strongest people they have ever known. She had a spontaneity that could not be anticipated, a curiosity that was never quenched and a desire to keep busy that spilled over to every part of her life - filling her “free time” by registering people to vote, canvassing for her favorite candidates, being the president of the PTA and co-president of the tenant association of her apartment building among other things. She loved to get her hands dirty with DIY projects and have fun on mini and mis-adventures ranging from searching for beaver dams, bear scat and spectacular sunsets. Karen was a trusted confidant, colorful storyteller, avid Jeopardy! player, and a beloved mother and grandma (also known as the Mothership and OGK). She loved good food and wine, spending time with family, and the wonder of nature. 

Those who wish may donate in Karen’s name to Hudson Valley Hospice or the Queens Botanical Garden. A memorial service will be held at her home in Hurley, NY on Saturday, October 7 at 2:00pm.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen Wilson, please visit our flower store.

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