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Karen Fisher 1935-2017


Dorothy Karen Fisher
 
November 13, 1935 - January 30, 2017

Dorothy Karen Fisher made her mark on the world in many ways, not the least of which was telling everyone, “My name is Karen”. She was plagued with the usual name games when filling out government forms, getting a passport or driver’s license or waiting to be called for an x-ray or blood work, where inevitably she would hear, ”Dorothy”!!
Deb Lawson tells us that one of the last things Karen did in life was to write on a paper at the hospital, “My name is Karen” for the nurse who insisted on calling her Dorothy!
    To Orangeville Chorus she was ‘Karen the First’, which she made clear once more ‘Karens’ began joining the chorus.  She joined the Chorus with Gery having learned about it from long-time friend Pat Vipond.  Karen taught nursery school with Gery and Pat in Toronto 60-plus years ago and stayed ‘forever friends’. The ukulele duets that Karen and Gery used to do at Retreat and other chorus functions hearkened back to those days.
    Karen was born in Nassau, Bahamas and never learned to like the cold weather! So it was natural that she was in her element planting gardens and filling hummingbird feeders in the warmer seasons. She also loved wood-working and had a shop with tools that most men would drool over. Karen mostly just dabbled in this hobby and looked around for the next ‘newest tool’. Acquiring them seemed more important than ever having to actually use them!
    Karen was active in Orangeville Chorus on ‘both sides of the picture’. She served on the Board for many years, even as President, and then moved on to the Music Team where her keen ear and musical knowledge served her well.
    Karen loved word games and puzzles, had a keen and quirky sense of humour, and puns were always in style. So not surprisingly, she was the queen of parody. Karen always wanted to write parodies to the ‘current contest songs’ and Pat had to convince her to wait until they had passed the contest stage before she started changing the words! 
    Karen sang in UltraSound quartet for many years with tenor Joan Lockhart, baritone Betty Dolbear and lead Anne Richardson. Comedy was her favourite, even at Christmas, so they learned I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. One of the last double quartets Karen participated in for Komedy Kwartet was a surgical theme parody using If I Give My Heart to You where Karen was the surgeon. She named herself ‘Dr. Mal Practice’.
    Karen was not a big fan of hugs but most of us were lucky enough to get one or two along the way and, although the protests were vocal, the appreciation was evident in her quirky smiles.
    Karen sang bass in the Chorus and was apparently well known for the desserts she took to bass section potluck dinners. She was a self-appointed ‘riser policewoman’ and was quick to see that riser chatter stopped and that people paid attention to whomever was out front. As one chorus member put it, Karen had ‘a velvet fist in an iron glove’, as even if she simply said, “Shut up!” People respected her for it—and obeyed her!! She was also quick to notice anything not quite right in the musical lines, and after she stopped quartetting, she would coach quartets and could spot a wrong note ‘across a crowded room’!
    Karen lived at ‘The Annex’ with Gery deRoux, moving there when they left Toronto and Gery had the house built. They were joined later by Deb Lawson and the three shared household tasks and life in abundance, with dogs, cats and many, many friends. The Chorus held an annual ballgame at The Annex, with Sweet Adelines vs. Deb’s ball team. Rules were out the window, fun was the name of the game, and songs were in the air. Karen loved being one of the hosts of this annual event.
    Karen’s 70th birthday was celebrated at her sister Cathy’s home in Ottawa and some of us were fortunate to be in attendance for that celebration. It was only fitting that she lived out her final days in Cathy’s home, surrounded by her family.
    Karen will be missed—for her bass voice, her voice of reason, her sage advice, that wicked sense of humour, and the wonderful friendships she shared in the chorus.
A unique, wise, wonderful, funny individual and forever friend.