She was born Thursday, Dec. 30, 1943 and grew up near the small town of Bronaugh, where she and her two sisters, Lois and Joan were raised by two loving parents, Joe and Ethelyn Leist Boatright and a very special grandmother, "Granny Deal" Leist.
While Karen and her husband had no children of their own, many children considered her "their" own.
Their lives are richer because of her unconditional love and dedication to their happiness. No matter whether playing cards with an eight-year-old in Oklahoma, serving on the board of The Children's Learning Center in Illinois or directing the operations at a private special needs school in East Saint Louis, she did it with professionalism and love for the children.
Karen's passion for education began with her own. She received her Baccalaureate Degree from Central Missouri State University in 1966. After earning her Master's Degree in Education, she went on to graduate with her Doctorate in Education from Columbia University. She then shared her knowledge as a Professor of Education at Drake University in Iowa.
In 1966 Karen married James Ford. During their marriage, they were fortunate to live in several locations where long term friendships were made. For the past 14 years, they made their home in Duncan where they operated their real estate investment business. They shared 41 years as husband and wife before James passed away in 2007.
Karen is survived by her two sisters, Joan Diehn of Wichita, Kan., and Lois Harris and husband Larry of Duncan, Okla., a cherished mother-in-law, Maxine Ford of Bronaugh, Mo., and a brother -in-law, Stanley Ford and wife Norma of Moundville, Mo.
Karen was very proud of her nieces and nephews: Michelle Spalding Bennes, Emily Spalding Renner, Dr. Bryan Harris, Michael Harris, Megan Harris, Antonette Ford Bunch, Amy Ford Searles, Amanda Ford Pollock and many great nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her husband James, parents Joe and Ethelyn Boatright and a niece Danielle Harris.
Dr. Dale Cummins will conduct graveside services at 1 p.m. Thursday, in the Worsley Cemetery near Bronaugh, Mo.
The family will receive friends from 6:30 till 8 p.m. Wednesday in the Cheney Witt Chapel, 201 S. Main, Fort Scott.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Duncan Senior Citizen Center; 1110 N. 7th; Duncan, Okla. 73533 or Duncan Regional Hospital Health Foundation; P.O. Box 2000; Duncan, Okla. 73534
Words of remembrance may be submitted to the online guestbook at cheneywitt.com.