Karen A. (Helander) Brady, 71, of Beauregard died Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2015, at Bethany House of complications related to cancer.
Born on July 20, 1943, in Ancona, ILL., she was the daughter of Frank C. & Anne (Bates) Helander, deceased.
Karen grew up in Ancona & Streator, Ill. She graduated from Streator H.S. in 1961. She moved to Chicago and married in 1968. Karen moved several times before settling in Roanoke, VA., with her husband and young son in 1977. It was there that her desire to help others led her to begin a career in nursing, something she continued to do until her retirement in 2010.
Family moves starting in 1983 led to a number of years in Clearwater, Fla., south Auburn and Cornell, Ill., before retiring and settling in Opelika (Beauregard).
It was in Beauregard and at the Opelika Sportsplex that Karen truly found a home. In her years there she came to learn that family wasn’t just the people you share blood with but rather those who judge you by your character and share equally in your trimuphs and failures.
It was among that Plex family that, with her own first bout with cancer, she developed a passion for Relay for Life that was rivaled only by the love for her grandchildren.
Karen was a tireless volunteer, supporter and advocate for Plex Hope, the local chapter of Relay for Life.
Karen will be remembered for her forthrightness, her sense of humor, her love of Auburn University, her fierce pride in her son and her devotion to her grandchildren and Relay for Life.
Karen was preceded in death by a younger sister. She is survived by her husband Jim, her son Kirk, grandchildren Robert and Sarah, six brothers, three sisters and numerous people at the Opelika Sportsplex that she considered family.
The family requests memorial donations be made to the Relay for Life c/o The American Cancer Society in her name.