Karen Miller Vanek (1958-2018), of Granby, CT, passed away suddenly in her home, with her husband Brian by her side, on July 19, 2018 at the age of 60. Their love for each other was as bright and inspirational as the flowers Karen tended in her gardens and thrived just as much, as evidenced by their 42 years of marriage.
She was predeceased by her father, Roger A. Miller, brothers, Roger Miller and Rodney Miller, and most recently by her mother, Betty K. Miller. In addition to her husband Brian, Karen is survived by their son Jesse Vanek and his wife Melissa of Holyoke, MA; son Cameron Vanek and his wife Carol of Enfield, CT, and granddaughter Ava; and an extended circle of family and friends who will all miss Karen's thoughtful, caring nature.
Karen was born in Patuxent River, MD, while her father was a navigator for the Air Force. Upon his honorable discharge from the military, the family moved to Canton, CT. After a number of business relocations over the years, the family returned to Canton where Karen met her future husband. After a brief courtship, Brian and Karen married in 1976 and started their family in Simsbury, CT, where they resided for 12 years. Desiring a quieter life close to nature, they purchased land in Granby, built a home, raised a family, and enjoyed more than 30 love-filled years together there. Karen particularly valued celebrating the holidays at home and eagerly welcomed guests with seasonal decorations, beautifully set dinner tables, and an abundance of delicious, homemade food; her love and creativity infused it all.
Her appreciation for flowers began while spending time in her grandmother's shop in Houston, PA, where she helped tend the gardens. It blossomed while working at Blumen Laden in Old Avon Village (now located in Collinsville) where she and owner Ann Wincze became good friends as they created beautiful arrangements for area homes and events together. Karen thoroughly enjoyed their frequent excursions and fun days outside of work. Karen was also grateful to have reconnected with Sue (Anderson) Rizzuto, her closest childhood friend. Having shared many stories, secrets, and family vacations as children, and despite having drifted apart over the years, theirs was a true friendship that stood the tests of both time and distance. Karen also shared a deep friendship with Kathy Graham as the two exchanged gardening tips, traveled together to buy plants and flowers, and always returned with much more than they had planned for. Farmer's Markets were a must for the two, and Karen treasured the days spent talking and laughing together. Karen's family honors these three dear friends and thanks them for sharing their love and affection with Karen.
Calling hours are scheduled from 12:00 noon to 2:00pm at Vincent's Funeral Home in Simsbury, CT on Saturday, August 11, 2018 with a memorial service immediately following. In honor of Karen's love for gardening, flowers are welcome and appreciated. The family would also like to thank the Granby Ambulance Association and encourages donations in Karen's memory.
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