Karen “Hazel” Benson of Moody, Maine, passed away on Sunday, June 20, after losing a courageous battle with COVID-19. She was 74.
She was born in Concord on Dec. 13, 1946, to Charles Paire and Lillian (Larlee) and was raised in Penacook.
During her youth Karen was an active member of the Girl Scouts.
Karen graduated from Penacook High School.
In 1965, Karen met the love of her life, Peter, which led to a 55-year love affair. They were married on Oct. 16, 1965.
They settled in Boscawen and had two sons, Peter Charles and Jeffrey Royal.
In 1973, Peter’s job with the N.H. Department of Transportation required a move to Keene, where they would live for the next 29 years.
In 1977, Karen started work at Granite Bank (originally Keene Savings Bank) as an installment loan secretary. She rose through the ranks and retired as senior vice president.
Karen was active in the community sitting on the boards of the United Way and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. She led a team for the N.H. Public TV annual phone-a-thon. She also enjoyed performing as clown “Benny” for the Keene Lions Club.
On April 30, 2002, Karen and Peter retired to Wells, Maine, and later to Moody, Maine, in 2005.
Their love for travel took them on adventures to Venice, Italy, where they danced in Saint Mark’s Square, to Baja California, to Mexico to observe and pet the gray whales, and to the central highlands of Mexico to observe the millions of monarch butterflies that migrate and winter there.
Karen was an accomplished seamstress and especially loved to quilt, creating beautiful, personalized quilts for family members and friends. She also made and donated quilts to charitable and veterans groups. Karen sewed and donated masks to the Wells Police Department during the pandemic.
Karen loved solving crossword and sudoku puzzles and never missed an episode of “Jeopardy.”
Later in life she became an avid golfer.
Best known for her kindheartedness and quick smile, she had the wonderful ability to make instant friends and make people feel comfortable.
Most of all, Karen loved her family. She was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
She was a wonderful wife to Peter, who called her the best thing that ever happened to him.
Karen was predeceased by her grandparents, John and Hazel Larlee, and her parents. She is survived by her husband, Peter; son Peter and wife, Michelle, son Jeffrey and wife, Cynthia; grandchildren Kelsie Stuart and husband, Collin, Kendall, Courtney, Ty, Gage, Peter and fiancé Emma, Hayden, Cole and Steven; great-grandchildren Lincoln Stuart and Adley Benson; sister Sandra Brodeur and husband, Ed; and several nieces and nephews.
Honoring Karen’s wishes, a private memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in her name to your local Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.
Arrangements are under the care of Bibber Memorial Chapel, 111 Chapel Road Wells, Maine 04090.