Karen Marrs Parthum, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, holding hands with two of her favorite people in the world: her sisters. Karen was born on September 7, 1936, the daughter of Myron Francis and Genevieve O'Keefe Marrs. She attended St. Mary's Academy in Windsor, Canada and St. Ambrose in Grosse Pointe Park. She worked as a photographer at the FBI after graduating high school. Arriving for her first day at work, what she didn't know then was that this was going to be the day her life changed forever. It was the day she would meet a handsome coworker with a cheeky sense of humor who was, in fact, her soulmate. They were married on July 20, 1957 and would have celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary this year. It isn't possible to think of Karen without immediately thinking of Don and vice versa. They were by no means perfect but were in every sense of the meaning, perfect for each other. The love and respect they shared is their finest and greatest legacy that lives on in everyone who knew them but especially in their family.
Karen was a loving mother to her children Donald, Jr. (Liz), Pamela McCarthy (Tim), Jeffrey (Laura), and Nicole (Derek Stevens). She will forever be 'Keke' to her grandchildren Katherine, Caroline, Caitlin, Alexander, Madison, Whitney, Sammy, and Sera. When her husband, Don, first proposed the notion of his retirement, Karen was supportive as ever but had one condition: his being home could not interfere with her special time watching over the grandchildren.
She was the sister of Judy Clarke (Gene), Mike Marrs (Donna), Walter Marrs (Kathy), Mary Ann Semelsberger (Frank), Linda Quick (Ron) and Tim Marrs (Sue). She also loved and was loved by her beloved brother in-law John 'Jack' Parthum (Nancy).
Writing about what makes Karen Parthum so spectacular is like trying to capture a beam of light from the rising sun in your bare hands. Just when you think you have it, you realize nothing will be as good as the experience. She was kind, thoughtful, loving but those words don't even come close to capturing the je ne sais quoi that drew people to her like a moth to a flame. She was and always has been, the kind of person that makes you want to be better. To be kinder. To slow down and see the beauty in the day-to-day. And that can't possibly be captured in words.
If we had to pick one word to summarize Karen, the only one that does her justice is her self-imposed title of chocolate-aholic. Karen loved chocolate. No, really, she loved chocolate. It may be fair to say the only thing she loved more was her family, especially her grandchildren.
Karen was known for her legendary chocolate chip cookies, addiction to celebrity magazines, knitting skills and insistence that everyone get together for 'just one more picture'. An early riser, she was often up before the sun and already through half a pot of coffee and a few chocolate chip cookies by the time anyone else in the house was even thinking of waking up. Karen loved traveling as far away as Ireland and as close as down the street for dinner.
Karen was a woman who held her faith nestled tightly in the spot between her heart and her soul. A member of St. Clare of Montefalco parish, she spent many hours volunteering to keep the church beautiful. Over the years, she had a special relationship with the parish priests who were always more than welcome to join Parthum family events. A funeral mass will be held at St. Clare on Saturday June 12, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. where family and close friends are invited to gather to celebrate Karen's life. In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Clare of Montefalco Catholic Church, 1401 Whittier, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230.
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Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
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