OPINION: From the editor: Saying farewell to a friend

Published 6:02 am Saturday, November 6, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

This week did not start as I had planned in more ways than one.

Sunday, I woke up to several text messages concerning a friend who had passed. Each person who sent the text, I thank you for keeping me posted during her fight.

Karen Stevens approached me seven years ago to ask if she could write 10 columns for the paper talking about the Ten Commandments. After those 10 weeks, we agreed that as long as she wanted to write the column she could. Neither of us expected seven years to pass.

When she became ill, she sent an email to let me know and to apologize for not being able to send one that week or the next. I have no idea if she ever received my reply. I have no idea if she received a text I sent before I found out she was in the hospital.

What I do know is that she is in a much better place today.

Over the last few days, I was reminded of the several articles Karen wrote. I was also reminded of her amazing heart as other told me when they met her and how wonderful she was towards them.

One person said, “I never met her before but she introduced herself to me at an event and always said hi to me whenever we saw each other after that.”

Simple actions such as that is what made her special to all those who knew her.

While her husband, children and grandchildren struggle through the coming days, I pray they find solace in knowing she is in peace.

Orange County lost a wonderful person with Karen’s passing. I know I personally will miss seeing her post pictures of sunrises and sunsets or her latest painting. I am eternally grateful, and even recently rethanked her again, for a painting she gifted me. It means so much after her questioning many on what they suggested she change on it that I was the one she gifted with the honor of appreciating it. But that was Karen.

She loved her husband so much as well as her sons. We often jokingly asked which Eric we were talking about because I have two in my family and she had one as well.

I will miss praying with her and the long talks over lunch.

My condolences to her husband and family.


Dawn Burleigh is general manager and editor of The Orange Leader. She can be reached at dawn.burleigh@orangeleader.com