Karen Lynn Hathaway passed on quietly to her new life on September 30, 2020 at home in Santa Barbara, California.
She was born in Big Spring, Texas on August 15, 1962, the middle child of USAF fighter-pilot Major Donald Foss Hathaway and Patricia Anne (Hall) Hathaway.
A luminous person with a big heart and an incredible sense of humor, Karen made people feel accepted and welcome wherever she went. She was especially a delight to the younger members of her family, who had the pleasure of knowing the beauty of a soul that never grew old. Karen derived an equal pleasure from the role she played in their upbringing.
During her childhood Karen lived in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Maine, and Okinawa, Japan as well as Texas—but the two places she always returned to were her mother’s childhood home in Troy, and her father’s childhood home in Island Falls, Maine, where the family moved when she was in middle school. She graduated from Portland (Maine) High School in 1980.
After high school she attended Pitzer College, spending a semester in Paris and graduating in 1985 with a degree in English literature and friendships which would become life-long. Living in Santa Barbara, California with her mother, her sister Keely, and their pets, Karen hosted rollicking international parties and relaxed family gatherings. She also traveled abroad annually with her former fiancé Karim Teymourtache, and her love of cooking, culture, music, and gardening were nurtured in these happy, lively years.
Karen was loved by many and touched all our hearts. She is predeceased by her dearest brother Craig, her father Donald, her mother Patricia, and her sister Keely. She is survived by her brothers Alan and Eric, sister Crista and sister-in-law Kim, foster-brother Dan Cerepanya, and brother and sister William and Anna Fenton-Hathaway. Her beloved uncle Tim Hathaway was a constant presence in her last years, acting as caregiver and companion along with Karen’s partner, Richard Armstrong. Karen will be greatly missed by her nieces and nephews Ian, Hayley, Gaia, McCrae, Aaron, Marion, Bo, Vera, Silas, Ryan, and Alba, in whom the love of her passions will live on. She is also survived by her aunts Elvira Mae (Aunt Toos) Fletcher, Maxine Rorer, and Mary Hathaway Sherwood; and her uncle James Hathaway, stepmother Katharine Fenton-Hathaway, and her many beloved cousins.
Karen cared for her family the same way she cared for her gardens, with love and devotion.
The strength of Karen’s character and determination was evident daily throughout her 18-month painful struggle to regain her health. When it became obvious to her that she would not have a quality of life which was acceptable to her in spite of all best efforts, she refused further treatment with dignity and grace. She then returned to Maine to say goodbye to family and old friends, and to see the places she loved there one last time.
Always dignified, much respected, exuding grace, terribly missed, and forever loved, Karen is no longer suffering.
Her family is extremely grateful for the wonderful care Karen received from UCLA Medical Center, and especially for the loving attention she received from Diane and Gabriella at Santa Barbara Assisted Hospice Care. In memory of Karen, donations may be made there, or to the St. Francis Pet Clinic in Santa Barbara.