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Karen Kublank (nee Bock), 69, of Barrington was born on May 13, 1950 and passed away on July 3, 2019. Married on April 11, 1981, she was the loving wife of Gerald “Jerry” Kublank for 38 years. She was also the cherished mother of Samantha (Brad) O’Brien and Brian Kublank; adored grandmother of Jack O’Brien; beloved daughter of Fred and the late Shirley Bock; dear sister of Fred (Susan) Bock, Susan (Gerry) Burke, Edie (the late Joe) Misurelli, Eric (Glenna) Bock, John Bock, and Brian (Kelly) Bock; and aunt, cousin, and friend to many.
Karen had a true passion for education that started very early in her life. Her father provided real desks and lockers and she taught summer school to her six younger siblings and several neighborhood children, going so far as to pass out and grade papers to her “students.” A lifelong learner and book lover, she was the first in her family to attend college and she received her BA in English from the University of Illinois. She poured herself into her career as an English teacher at Palatine High School from 1972-2001 and as the English Department Chair at Schaumburg High School from 2001-2005. She met her husband on New Teacher Day and they taught together in District 211 for 30+ years. She dedicated herself to serving her students, including coaching the school’s first girls’ tennis team early in her career; sponsoring Student Council and serving as President of the local Illinois Association of Student Councils district; and establishing the Palatine Christmas Bazaar, which is still going strong today. Her devotion was broadly recognized by students, faculty, and administrators and she received a number of accolades for her service, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, Principal’s Award of Excellence, and District 211 Honored Faculty Member Award.
Following her retirement, Karen stayed busy by working at Jewel Osco and serving her community. A devoted Christian, Karen studied Scripture daily, sang in the choir at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, arranged the weekly Coffee Pause, and served on various church boards. Her favorite activity was organizing the Barrington Giving Day each August. She gave up her vacation time at Osco to purchase and fold clothes and she loved bringing a smile to the faces of the children who benefitted from the program. She had a true servant heart and was committed to making a difference in the lives of others, whether it was lending a sympathetic ear to friends or family members going through a difficult time, donating to charitable causes, or selflessly giving up her free time to help others.
In her spare time, Karen loved reading science fiction books, gardening, and completing Sudoku puzzles. She was also a fierce board game competitor and always relished the chance to beat family members at dice and Pinochle. She had many warm memories of spending summers at Lake Esadore in Medford, Wisconsin with family and friends over the years. She was a lifelong animal lover and leaves behind two cats, Face and Jeter.
Karen was diagnosed with glioblastoma in October 2017. Throughout her courageous 600+ day journey with the disease, she always had a smile on her face and never once complained or felt sorry for herself. Her positive attitude was a true testament of her faith and indomitable spirit to her doctors, nurses, family, and friends. Following her diagnosis, she was able to attend family celebrations, meet her grandson Jack, and take memorable trips to Florida and Jamaica.
Karen will be greatly missed, but the impact she had on those around her will never fade. Her selfless devotion to making the world a better place is an inspiring example for the family and friends who had to say goodbye too soon. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Matthew Lutheran Church Back To School Giving Day Fund, 720 Dundee Ave., Barrington, IL 60010 or JourneyCare Foundation, www.journeycare.org/donate.
Memorial visitation will be held on Friday, July 12, from 4:00-8:00pm at the funeral home. On Saturday, July 13, memorial visitation will continue from 10:00am until the time of her memorial service at 11:00am at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 720 Dundee Ave, Barrington, IL 60010. Interment will be held privately.
St. Matthew Lutheran Church Back To School Giving Day Fund
720 Dundee Avenue, Barrington IL 60010
2050 Claire Ct., Glenview IL 60025