|Obituary published in Tallahassee Democrat on May 10, 2009
Karen Lee Girard
Karen Lee Girard unexpectedly passed from these earthly bounds due to a heart attack on Tuesday, May 5, 2009.
Karen was the beloved wife of Robert L. "Linc" Clay, sister to Bonnie Wirth (Dennis) and Gayle DeMattei (Gaeton), favorite aunt to 15 nieces and nephews, and great-aunt to a multitude.
She was also a friend and colleague to many. Her kindness and positive outlook will be missed by all who knew her. The world is a poorer place without her.
Karen was born in Arlington, Virginia, on October 29, 1947. She grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, where she graduated from Walter Johnson High School in 1965.
She came to Florida to attend Rollins College in Winter Park. She graduated in 1969 with a degree in psychology, after which she began a career that spanned almost 40-years as a social services worker for the State of Florida. She initially provided family support services through the former Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.
Later in her career, she transferred to the Agency for Health Care Administration, where she became a Medicaid Rules Specialist and was respectfully referred to by coworkers as the "Administrative Rules Queen." In 2001, Karen entered semi-retirement but continued her work at the agency. Karen's interests were varied and keenly pursued.
As an avid reader, she helped establish a book club in 1990 that continues to meet. She also pursued a variety of outdoor fitness activities. She enjoyed hiking and camping, and in her later years she also pursued sea kayaking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. She was both a runner and a bicyclist, and, as a longtime member of both the Gulf Winds Track Club and the Capital City Cyclists, she participated in many local races and rides and attended running camps.
She also directed the bike club's annual two-day recreational ride (TOSRV South) for two years. When she later developed (through her husband, Linc, whom she met in 1992 and married in 1998) an interest in sea kayaking, Karen became the co-trail keeper of Segment 4 of the Florida Circumnavigation Saltwater Paddling trail.
Karen was the family scribe, providing readings at all weddings and memorials, and the family historian, documenting her family's emigration from Canada in the early 1900s and her father's service in the US Department of Agriculture as one of the originators of the Food Stamp Program. It was her father's career that inspired her own service to Floridians.
During her semi-retirement, she continued to pursue these interests and added a new one. She became a volunteer at the YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch Nordic Center in Colorado, where she enjoyed cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, fellowship, and helping guests at the ranch. Although Karen enjoyed the snow-covered Rockies, she always enjoyed returning to the greenery and songbirds of North Florida.
Recently, contemplating Linc's retirement, Karen had enjoyed outfitting the small travel trailer they had purchased for retirement travel. Karen was preceded in death by her mother, Mary Girard; her father, Clarence Girard; and her sister, Robyn Hayford. In addition to the family members noted above, Karen is survived by her mother-in-law, Louise Clay; and brothers-in-law John Clay (Coleen Castro) and Bill Clay (Anna Rivola-Clay).
A memorial service will be held at Maclay Gardens State Park on Tuesday, May 19, at 9:30A.M. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Big Bend Hospice, 1723 Mahan Center Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32308.
[RFSS Dec 2013]
United States Social Security Death Index
Given Name: Karen
Middle Name: Lee
Birth Date: 29 Oct 1947
Event Date: 5 May 2009
[RFSS Oct 2015]
|Florida, Marriage Index, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001
Name: Robert Lincoln Clay
Event Date: 3 Jan 1998
Event Place: Leon, Florida, United States
Spouse's Name: Karen Lee Girard
Certificate Number: 000091
[RFSS Dec 2013]
|[ s4285 ]||Social Security Death Index - United States of America - S.S. Number not given|
|[ s4567 ]||Marriage Certificate - Florida, Marriage Index, 1822-1875 and 1927-2001 - Marriage of Robert Lincoln Clay and Karen Lee Girard on 3 January 1998 in Leon County, Florida, United States of America - Certificate Number: 000091 - MC1998-03-01-RLC-KLG|
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