Karen Sunderlage, 63, of Genoa, Ill., passed away surrounded by the love of her family on Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, at Kishwaukee Community Hospital, after a long-fought battle with cancer.
She was born Oct. 16, 1949, in Aurora, the daughter of Harley and Marilyn Strobert.
Karen attended local schools as a young girl before attending West Aurora High School. She graduated with the class of 1967. As a young woman, she was a longtime member of the Quivera Club in Elburn.
In the early 1970s, Karen won the heart of Robert Lucas. In May of 1971, Karen welcomed Brett, the first of her four children, into her life. After some time, Karen and Robert grew apart.
After her marriage to Bob, Karen left her parents’ home in Aurora. In 1969, she moved to Elburn where she lived until the early 1980s. Karen later moved to Genoa, where she settled in and made her home.
Karen was one of the lucky ones who had a second chance at love. Karen and Jerry Sunderlage were married in 1984. Over the next three years, they welcomed Zachary, Hailey and Kelsey into their families.
Although Karen loved all types of music, Elvis stole her heart. She could sing along to every Elvis song there was. She made numerous trips to Memphis and visited Graceland countless times with her “Memphis Buddies,” Carol and Linda. Karen’s most meaningful trip to Memphis was with her daughter and granddaughter. Even though she struggled to get around, Karen persevered and took the tour with her family, singing and dancing along the way.
Karen always had a sense of fashion and enjoyed shopping to pass time. She was always willing to extend a helping hand to those in need, even without being asked. Her children and grandchildren meant the world to her. She always was each child’s personal cheering section at any of their sporting events, even practice.
Whenever there was a gathering, Karen was the life of the party. She loved to make people laugh and have a good time. Some of her pastimes included crafts, decorating and reading, usually while enjoying her favorite snack: Coca-Cola and Cheetos. Although Karen was vocal about what she thought, she was always a better listener.
She is survived by her four children, Brett Lucas, Zachary Sunderlage, Hailey Sunderlage and Kelsey Sunderlage; five grandchildren, Brooklynn, Makenna, Kash, Braedyn and Daemon; her mother, Marilyn Strobert; two brothers, David (Andrea) Strobert and Richard Strobert; three sisters, Vickie (Mark) Rupprecht, Barbara (Peter) Schafer and Denise Brown; and many nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her father, Harley Strobert.
The family will host a private memorial service at a later date.
A memorial has been established in their name to benefit The American Cancer Society: Checks may be made to the “American Cancer Society” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or on the web at www.conleycare.com.