Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2000

Lawrence advocate succumbs to cancer

Former Lawrence school board member dies

November 30, 2000

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High-spirited, dedicated, unselfish, direct and feisty.

Those are some of the adjectives friends and acquaintances use to describe Renee Karr, a Lawrence community advocate who died Wednesday from brain cancer.

"She would help anyone she saw in need," said State Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, who described Karr as a close friend and "kitchen cabinet" adviser on certain legislative issues. "She donated a lot of time to the community."

Karr, 49, died at Midland Hospice in Topeka. She worked for the Douglas County District Attorney's office as well as in the private sector. But she was most noted for her service on the Lawrence Board of Education and as a member of the board of directors at Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center.

Karr served on the school board from 1993 to 1997 and was still on the Bert Nash board when she died.

"She was a high-spirited advocate of client services," Sandra Shaw, Bert Nash chief executive, said. "She was willing to take her advocacy to the highest levels to get attention."

Bert Nash board member Shirley Martin-Smith called Karr's contributions "immeasurable."

Karr also left strong impressions with the people she dealt with on the school board, according to Supt. Randy Weseman and board member Mary Loveland. She was a strong advocate for special education students and thought all deserved a quality education, they said.

"Feisty," Weseman called her. "If you asked Renee her opinion, you sure got it."

Services for Karr will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Victory Bible Church, 1942 Mass.

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