Karen Crate Wimberly

Date of Death

October 26, 2022

City of Death

Austin, Texas

On Wednesday, October 26, 2022, Karen Crate Wimberly (née Karen Marie Crate), loving mother, grandmother, and friend passed away in Austin, Texas. She was 74. Karen is survived by her loving sons, Cory, Mac and Daniel and her grandchildren, Hudson, Cael, Wilder, and Mars. Karen will also be dearly missed by her brothers Thomas and Daniel, sisters Mary and Therese, and a wealth of close friends too numerous to count.

Karen was born in Joliet, Illinois to John and Rosemary Crate. She attended St. Patrick’s grade school, Saint Francis Academy, and went on to earn a Bachelors and Master’s degree in education from Northern Illinois University. After a brief stint in administration, Karen moved into the classroom where she felt she could make a greater difference in students’ lives. She taught elementary school in Romeoville and represented her teacher’s union as a negotiator until moving to Santa Barbara, California in 1987. Karen worked for the California State Disability Insurance Office until 2011.

Not one to settle down, Karen spent her retirement years on the go. She completed a regular circumnavigation of the United States moving from Nevada to New Mexico to Texas to Florida to Illinois to Indiana to Michigan to California. She visited her far-flung family and friends and enjoyed swimming, boating, skiing, and cards with them. She also enjoyed exploring new places–Hawaii and Italy were two of her favorites.

In her time at home, she loved getting together with friends for a drink by the ocean, walking, quilting, gardening, and attending yoga. She was a long time member of her book club and often planned to be home just for the meetings. She was also committed to her work for the Assistance league of Santa Barbara, Las Aletas Auxiliary. She was especially committed to ‘Operation School Bell Goleta’ in which she would take needy children shopping for clothing, books, backpacks, school supplies, and toiletries.

In early January 2022, Karen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and spent these past months fighting the numerous physical and emotional battles that came along with her diagnosis. Throughout her ordeal, Karen never lost her irreverent sense of humor and playful wit. Karen’s ability to bring laughs and smiles to the people around her was one of the reasons she was so loved and appreciated. Karen had an unbelievable ability to make friends and bring people together, even in the last phases of her life. The number of people who came to visit her this past year was a testament to the meaning and impact she had on so many lives.

In honor of Karen, please visit a friend or make a new one. If you can do so on a patio or over a cocktail, it would be ideal.

Karen’s celebration of life is Sunday December 11, 2022 at 11:00am-12:00 noon at the Carousel House at 223 East Cabrillo Boulevard in Santa Barbara. She wanted people to wear bright colors and share their favorite stories of her. She was adamant that it truly be a celebration of her. All her family, friends, and acquaintances are invited. Please RSVP at https://everloved.com/life-of/karen-wimberly/funeral/.


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