Cover photo for Karen  Leigh  Van Horn 's Obituary
Karen  Leigh  Van Horn  Profile Photo
1961 Karen 2020

Karen Leigh Van Horn

February 16, 1961 — May 31, 2020

Karen Leigh (Williams) Van Horn, age 59, of Durham, NC died in an automobile accident in Orange County on Sunday, May 31, 2020. The youngest of five children, Karen was born to the late Geraldine “Jerry” Wall Williams and Claude Bernard Williams, Jr. She was also predeceased by her sister-in-law, Chiyoko Williams, and her niece, Christina Williams.
From growing up on Monticello Avenue, to Hope Valley School, and Jordan High School, she had a joyful spirit to all she touched. At Jordan, she was voted “Most Spirited” on her volleyball and basketball teams. That “super spirit” continued as a mom as she invested herself in cheering on her daughters in their extracurricular endeavors in high school and college. Though her girls went to UNC schools, her prime allegiance was to her dad’s alma mater, dear old Duke.
Karen was a UNCG graduate like her mother. In 1986, she was introduced to Brian Van Horn, who had recently relocated to the area from Pewaukee, WI, through mutual church friends. Their relationship took off quickly and after a few short months, they were engaged. They were married April 25, 1987 on a cold and rainy day at Seven Springs Farm. The weather that day was not a reflection of their 33 year marriage, which centered around their family and their faith. The family were members at Grey Stone Church where she was a Team Leader for Operation Christmas Child, very active in her Sunday School class, and attended multiple Bible Study Fellowship groups.
Karen was a 7 year survivor of Multiple Myeloma and was active in her MM support group. She encouraged others in their MM journey at monthly meetings, various events, and through frequent calls, texts, and notes. Her joy was ever present as she battled her cancer with a positive attitude. In 2018, a lifelong dream to visit Paris was fulfilled. Brian even got down on one knee and proposed again in front of the Eiffel Tower. Of course, she accepted with joy in the City of Lights. This past Mother’s Day, she celebrated five months of being a Nana to her first grandson and the graduation of two of her daughters from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Karen is survived by her husband, Brian; daughters Esther Clark (Joshua), Olivia, Meg, and Naomi; brothers Alan Williams (Blanche) and David Williams of Pinehurst, NC; sisters Pamela Williams (Jack Allen) of Takoma Park, MD and Lisa Williams; grandson Rhett Clark; and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Due to the current pandemic restrictions, a memorial celebration will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Triangle Area Multiple Myeloma Support Group or Operation Christmas Child (donation information to come). The Van Horn Family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service.

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