Tuesday, August 6, 1974 – Saturday, January 14, 2023
Karen Elaine Kasonic passed away peacefully on January 14, 2023. Karen was 48 years old. She was born in Seattle and raised on Mercer Island, Washington. Karen attended middle school at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy and graduated from Mercer Island High School. Karen graduated with honors from the University of San Diego (BS) and the University of Washington Technical Communication program (MS) where she also taught technical communication for engineers. After graduating, she served as Program Director for the Engineering Communication Program at UW. Throughout her time at UW, Karen was known for her dedication to students and colleagues. One of her responsibilities was to train new instructors and her impact continues to be felt through the many people she supported and trained in teaching.
From an early age, Karen enjoyed nature, animals, and had strong connections with her family and friends. Whether it was tooling around Lake Washington in the family Boston Whaler, at age 13, or taking her friends to the Lake Washington waterfront. She loved water tubing, snow skiing, beach life, whether at the Oregon Coast, or at Westport, Seabrook, Maui, or her all-time favorite, Whidbey Island.
Over the past 15 years, Karen lived with breast cancer courageously and authentically. She underwent 17 different chemo regimens and participated in many clinical trials. She brought light to her experience with HER2+ breast cancer to share her story and support others. Karen had more than 2,100 Twitter followers and a blog where she posted the travails of her cancer experience and helped others cope with their cancer diagnoses. Karen willed her body to the UW School of Medicine to further medical research. Cancer may have taken her from us, but her light remains.
Karen shone brightly in the life of all who knew her. She was an ally and advocate for a variety of causes including bringing attention to young women living with breast cancer. She was a devoted animal lover who was surrounded by pets throughout her life. She vol- unteered at PAWS, an animal shelter, and fostered many kittens over the years. She gave unselfishly of her time and knowledge to help others including those living with cancer, providing career advice, and advocating for graduate students at UW. Widely known for her generosity and big heart, Karen threw wonderful birthday parties and baby showers, invited people on vacation, and into her home and her life. She loved traveling and hiking, spending many days exploring the beauty of the Northwest and beyond.
Karen is survived by her parents, John and Gloria, her older brother Jay, and Piper, her 10-year-old King Charles Spaniel.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to the Kasonic HER2+ cancer research fund at the UW School of Medicine or to a charity of the donor’s choice.