Karen K. Keliehor, 73, died peacefully on Friday, January 17, 2014 at Hospice Austin’s Christopher House. Karen, “KK” named by her four grandchildren, (Edwin Stephen Oden, III “Chip” (15), Mary Margaret Oden (12), Luke Wade Priestly (7) and Myles Thomas Priestly (3). Karen was born on September 22, 1940 to Margaret Barbee Keliehor and Charles William Keliehor of Sherman, Texas. She was the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Tom E. Barbee and a descendent of the pioneer settlers in the Whitewright area.
She is preceded in death by her grandparents, parents, and brother Joe Charles Keliehor of Corpus Christi.
Karen’s childhood summers were spent in Whitewright and Sherman, Texas where she cultivated and treasured a lifetime of memories and friendships.
Karen graduated from W.B. Ray High School in 1958. Her recollections of drives down Ocean Drive, Port Aransas outings and drive ins would lead her to reminisce of her beloved and loyal friends from Corpus Christi, Texas. Karen attended Texas Christian University where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and graduated from Austin College in 1962 in with a degree in Sociology with a minor in History.
Karen had a lifelong love of learning, earning two Master’s Degrees in Educational Administration and Special Education. Her successful career included teaching first grade, reading, special education and ultimately serving as a Principal and Director of Special Education. In addition to her love for education, she owned her own design firm, Décor Trends of South Texas and The Flower Basket of Robstown. She was creative, artistic and passionate in making others smile with her creativity and celebratory style.
In 1965, she married Thomas Felton Priestly. They were married for 30 years, raising their two children on their family farms and ranches in South Texas surrounded by great-grandparents, grandparents, family and many special friends. The memories of ranching days often would take Karen back to thoughts of “the good ol’ days of South Texas”. She truly enjoyed hosting and entertaining family and friends, creating a lifetime of treasured memories for all.
In addition to raising her two children, having a successful career in education, owning her own businesses, and supporting her community through many organizations such as the Junior League of Corpus Christi, Karen loved to travel. Her travels included Europe, Mexico, and Alaska. She often would return to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico to enjoy the natural beauty of flowers and serene way of life. In her later years, some of her happiest times included taking her grandchildren to Santa Fe, Colorado Springs, Chicago, and Santa Monica.
KK had a sense of humor that family and friends knew so well. She seemed to see the “funny” side of life even in hard times. She lived by the motto of when your down to nothing, make something out of nothing; teaching her children and grandchildren there is always a way.
Graveside services were held for Karen at Mt. Calvary Cemetery 1618 Manor Road in Austin, Texas on Saturday, January 25th at 11 a.m.
Arrangements will be provided by Weed-Corley Fish Funeral Home. Much and sincere gratitude is recognized to Mr. Laurens Fish III and Mrs. Helen Almanza, who provided immediate support and upmost respect to the Keliehor, Priestly and Oden families. The family would also like to give special gratitude to the Emergency Room staff and beyond at University Medical Center Brackenridge for their kindness and unyielding support to Karen’s overall care and wellness. In addition, many heartfelt thanks to the wonderful nurses and staff at Hospice Austin. The families of Karen Keliehor would like to thank Mr. Clyde Thorton, who was loyal, caring and by KK’s side for many years. Her family will honor her memory and will look forward to the day they meet again.
Memorials may be sent to: The Christopher House of Austin www.hospiceaustin.org/donate or 2820 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., Austin, TX 78702 or The Junior Helping Hand Home of Austin @ www.helpinghandhome.org. 3804 Avenue B, Austin, Texas 78751.
Arrangements by Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home – (512) 452-8811. Obituary and memorial guestbook available online at www.wcfish.com