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Mrs. Karen DeKoning

Surrounded by her family at home, on Wednesday February 10th, 2021, Mrs. Karen DeKoning of Chatham passed away peacefully in her 77th year.  Cherished daughter of the late Hubert and Vona Proctor of Toronto.  Beloved wife of the late Judge L.G. (Larry) DeKoning of Chatham. Loving mother of Jason and his wife Erin O’Toole, and Larry and his wife Elaine Chan, all of Calgary. Proud grandmother of Leo, Catherine, and Alexander.  Karen will be missed by her partner Bob Downey of Chatham. Karen spent nearly all her life caring for others, leaving a legacy of kindness, compassion, generosity and service that touched many. 

Karen volunteered at the Thames Art Gallery and Chatham Cultural Centre throughout the 1980s and 90s and was recognized by the Ontario Government with 5 and 10 year service awards. During that time, she served as president of the volunteer committee, and convenor of ‘Eye for Art’. After a breast cancer diagnosis at age 48, Karen founded a long running local support group for breast cancer survivors and later branched out to lead patient advocacy and cancer prevention focused national organizations. Karen served as the president of the Canadian Breast Cancer Network, chair of the Saunders-Matthey Cancer Prevention Coalition, founding member of the Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition, founder and facilitator of the Chatham Breast Cancer Support Group, founding member of the Chatham Candlelight Run for Breast Cancer, and was recognized with a 5 year service award from the Canadian Cancer Society and a Cancer Prevention Award from the Windsor Occupational Health Information Service. Karen sat on numerous review, advisory, and editorial committees for research initiatives, funding agencies and scientific conferences at the national and international level, and was a community representative for the Ontario Breast Cancer Screening Program. She also sat on the advisory committee for the Chatham-Kent Hospice, and was recognized with a 5 year service award for this work. In recent years, she was a member and president of the May Court Club of Chatham, which is dedicated to addressing the needs of women and children through volunteerism and fundraising. She also helped fundraising efforts to build the new Chatham-Kent Animal Shelter. Karen studied political science at the University of Toronto (BA; 1968) and music at the Royal Conservatory of music (Toronto). She was a member of the Chatham-Kent Chorale, and was a long-time patron of the arts.

Karen loved her community and lived life as a humanitarian- she was compassionate, charitable, public-spirited, generous, and above all, kind.  Even in her illness she retained her concern for others, her humor and her dignity.  Karen will be greatly missed. 

Family and friends are invited to Alexander & Houle Funeral Home, 245 Wellington St. West, Chatham, 519-352-2710 on Sunday February 14th, 2021 with visiting from 2 to 4 pm, and 7 to 9 pm.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you must schedule your visitation time in advance by calling the funeral home at (519) 352-2710.  All attendees as mandated by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario must wear a mask at all visitations.  A memorial service will be announced when all family and friends can attend together.  In lieu of flowers, friends planning an expression of remembrance are asked to consider Chatham Outreach for Hunger, Chatham Food Bank-Salvation Army-Chatham Kent Ministries, “Friends of the Animal Shelter”, and the May Court Club of Chatham.  On-line condolences may be left at www.alexanderfuneralhome.ca    

Visitation: Sunday February 14th, 2021 from 2 to 4 pm & 7 to 9 pm

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you must schedule your visitation time in advance by calling the funeral home at (519) 352-2710.  All attendees as mandated by the Bereavement Authority of Ontario must wear a mask at all visitations.

A memorial service will be announced when all family and friends can attend together. 

Expressions of Sympathy: Chatham Outreach for Hunger, Chatham Food Bank-Salvation Army-Chatham Kent Ministries, “Friends of the Animal Shelter”, and the May Court Club of Chatham

View Karen’s Life Tribute




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Alexander & Houle Funeral Home Ltd
245 Wellington Street West,
Chatham, Ontario
N7M 1J9

Phone: 519.352.2710
Fax: 519.352.7372
Email: info@alexanderfuneralhome.ca

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