Karen Rae Beard
1951 - 2023
Obituary of Karen Rae Beard
Karen Rae Beard, 72, of Zionsville, Indiana and formerly of Lima, Ohio left an irreplaceable hole in our hearts when she passed away suddenly on Friday, December 29, 2023, at Northwestern Hospital in Lake Forest, IL.
Karen was a kind, generous soul who was known by all as a fiercely strong-willed, determined, no-nonsense woman. She was the queen of one-liners with an amazing sense of style and an even greater faith in God. She was purposeful in how she lived her life and spent her time. Always making the most of every moment, holding space for the things that truly mattered, her faith, friends, and most importantly her family.
Born July 3, 1951, to Melvin and Irene Brooks, who proceeded her in death, she spent her childhood in Webster City, Iowa where she was a 1970 graduate of Webster City High School. Karen was a 1974 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where she graduated with a degree in Elementary and Special Education. Her time at University of Northern Iowa ignited her passion for a career spent teaching and advocating for children, which would become a fabric of her life for the next 50 years. In 1997, Karen along with her husband Larry, started Golden Bridge Academy in Lima, Ohio realizing her dream of creating an educational environment where every child could find success. She was proud of her students and cherished the many relationships she formed there over the years. Karen always made herself available to her students, parents, staff, and colleagues as the ultimate sounding board. She knew how to listen and understood the importance of doing so. She bravely battled thyroid cancer twice and did so with grace, strength, humility, and faith. When her voice became more difficult to hear, she still spoke, but always chose her words wisely.
Karen enjoyed countless shopping trips with her daughters and could find her way around a Nordstrom store. She loved traveling extensively with Larry and her family both domestically and abroad and especially enjoyed her time with her family in Hilton Head Island over the years. To her, making memories and spending time was the ultimate gift. She believed that “when in doubt, you should always take the trip.”
Of all her accomplishments, her greatest source of pride was her family. The ultimate Mom, Gram, and Nana she could be found frequenting countless football games, wrestling meets, dance recitals, soccer games, and basketball games. If her Grandchildren were there, so was she. She never failed to show her family how much they meant to her and instilled in her family her strong faith and deep love of God.
Karen will be missed by many, but especially her loving husband, best friend and true-life partner of 30 years, Larry Beard; her beloved daughters Erica (Shawn) Verma of Libertyville, IL and Alicia (Christopher) Gentile of Zionsville, IN; her grandchildren Anand and Annabelle Verma of Libertyville, IL and Giuliana and Francesca Gentile of Zionsville, IN.; her stepchildren Janelle (Jonathan) Dancing and family of Bellows, VT; Brian (Susan) Beard and family of Topeka, KS; Carrie (Bryan) Notheis and family of Wentzville, MO; and Greg Beard of St. Louis MO; Karen is also survived by her brothers Philip (Diane) Brooks of Cedar Rapids, IA; and David Brooks of Cedar Rapids, IA along with several nieces and nephews.
A Christian funeral service will be held in her honor at 3:00 pm on January 13, 2024 at Cornerstone Lutheran Church, 4850 E. Main St., Carmel, IN. A celebration of Life to follow at The Club at Holliday Farms, 3950 Club Ridge Estates, Zionsville IN. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Larry Beard at 525 Mulberry Street, Zionsville Indiana 46077 for a memorial at the local library.
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