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Karen McKee

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Karen McKee, born Nov. 12, 1949, to James A. McKee and Naomi J. (Adams) McKee, passed away Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, after a yearlong illness.

Born and raised in Yellow Springs, she was a sixth-generation descendant of the Conway Colony that settled in Yellow Springs in July 1862. A proud product of the Yellow Springs school system, she graduated from Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, and then relocated to the Washington, D.C. area, where she received her master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from the Antioch Graduate School of Education.

She spent her professional career in the D.C. area, first as an educator in the D.C. public school system, and then joined the National Association of Education. She then transitioned into case management, working with the Fairfax–Falls Church Community Services Board as a substance abuse counselor.

Karen retired in 2012 and returned to Yellow Springs, where she launched her second career — that of an active, dedicated and committed community volunteer for the village of Yellow Springs.

Her extensive involvements included being the president of the James A. McKee Association, or JAMA, a charitable, educational and scientific organization founded by her father, former Chief of Police James A. McKee. JAMA supports programs such as Candidates Night, the James A. McKee Scholarship Fund and the annual James A. McKee Foundation Award.

Aside from her leadership role in JAMA, Karen was also a member of the editorial committee for The 365 Project’s “Blacks In Yellow Springs Encyclopedia”; was on the planning committee for the Wheeling Gaunt Sculpture Project; was on the board of trustees of the Yellow Springs Senior Center; and was an active member of The Retirement Set. Karen was a devoted member of St. Paul Catholic Church, where she was a Sacristan, and a member of the Saint Paul Parish Council. Parishioners there valued her as someone available when needed, always ready and willing to lend a hand.

Among her other, most recent projects were working on Courageous Conversations and the Next Steps Initiative, as well as the planning committee for the Rev. Matthews Memorial Plaque.

Karen was preceded in death by her father, James McKee, in 2003; her mother, Naomi McKee, in 2011; and her brother, James “Jimmy” McKee, in 2012. She is survived by her sisters, Bari McKee Teamor, Jean McKee and Sandra McKee Smith; nephews, Toussaint Teamor, Julian Teamor and Ricardo Teamor; nieces, Rachel Gardiner and Rhyan (Brandon) Jones; grand-nephew, Triston Teamor; grand-niece, Parker Jones; a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and friends; and lifelong friends, Ayisha Duncan and Reina Duval.

Special thanks to the staff of Friends Care Community Rehabilitation Center for the loving care provided to Karen during her stay.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, Dec. 16, 5–7 p.m., at First Baptist Church in Yellow Springs. A Funeral Mass will be held Friday, Dec. 17, at 11 a.m. at Saint Paul Catholic Church. Interment will follow at Glen Forest Cemetery. Social distancing protocol will be observed, and face masks will be required.

In Karen’s memory, contributions can be made to the James A. McKee Scholarship Fund at P.O. Box 263, Yellow Springs, Ohio, 45387-0263. Arrangements entrusted to Porter-Qualls-Freeman Funeral Home.


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