Karen LaveryApril 20, 1936 ~ October 13, 2017 (age 81)
Karen K. Lavery, fourth generation Alaskan, passed away Oct. 13, 2017, at 81, surrounded by friends and family. Karen was a Pioneer of Alaska, born April 20, 1936, to R.K. and Mildred Lavery. She grew up in Fairbanks with her best friend, Betsy Sharp, and had a passion for Fairbanks' local history, community and humanity.
She saw downtown change from a vibrant city center to an area of neglect with empty businesses and vacant lots. Neglect bothered Karen, and for over 30 years she made it her personal mission to restore downtown Fairbanks, establishing the Downtown Association of Fairbanks. She contributed to Downtown Transportation Center, Marriott Hotel, Bridge of Flags, Clay Street Cemetery, refurbishing Historic Fairbanks City Hall Museum, summer and winter solstice celebrations, construction of Fairbanks Community Health Center and the City Utilidor project. Karen also ran two businesses, Heritage House and the Lavery Building, and served on many boards; Breast Cancer Detection Center, Carlson Center and the Private Industry Council.
Karen was recognized at the city and state levels for her tireless efforts to promote and restore the quality of life and enhance the overall downtown business atmosphere. Upon her passing, a friend and colleague said to me, "Your mother was an inspiration to me when it came to being courageous in your beliefs. Karen always believed in the good in people and that everyone can make a difference." This was so true not only in her professional life but also in her personal life. She was an avid reader, liked politics, and loved family dinners and time spent with her grandchildren.
She will be sadly missed by her daughter, Lori Loud; her grandchildren,Tyler and Carmel Loud; her son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Billie Menefee, and their daughter, Ramie Ellis Walker, and her four children; and Larry and Barbara Garcia, and their daughter, Danielle; her significant other, Lynn Vogler; and her dear friends of 77 years, Betsy and Bert Sharp.
A service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, St. Matthew's Episcopal Church,1030 Second Ave., Fairbanks, AK 99701. A reception will be held immediately afterward at Pike's Waterfront Lodge in the Binkley Room, 1850 Hoselton Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99709.
In a lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Interior Alaska Cancer Association, P.O. Box 80063, Fairbanks AK 99708.