Karen Davis died at her home in Hyde Park on October 14th, 2020. Born Karen Ann in 1939 to Arnie and Dollie Schlicht of Sibley, Iowa, she attended local schools and then Grinnell College as an American studies and education major.
After Grinnell, she taught 7th grade for a year in Arlington, Illinois and then worked as a salesperson and buyer for the Charles A. Stevens Company in Chicago. Following marriage in 1964, she spent three years in Bamako, Mali, where she gained fluency in French, taught herself how to cook out of a Julia Child cookbook, reveled in daily shopping at the local markets, traveled adventurously to such places as the Dogon Country, Timbuktu and Djenne, and began a lifelong romance with the City of Light while vacationing in Paris.
Once back in Chicago, she gave birth to sons Jared and Cullen, mothered many of their friends, worked through the intricate master-pet relationship with two French Briards, acquired an MA in Linguistics at UIC and began a career in real estate — all the while learning that relationships are like pancakes, the first one is always a mistake and needs to be tossed out.
In 1986, reflecting on her 14 years as a stay-at-home mom, she described herself as a “housewife, mother, chauffeur, gardener, volunteer and general all-around handy person.” Among her handiworks was the creation, along with her long-time friend Carol Taylor, of a baseball Little League. She read and re-read Proust, discovered Reacher late in life, and continued to savor vacation and retirement life in both Paris and Provence. She was a devoted friend, a giver of wonderful dinner parties and a devout Democrat who made sure to vote before she passed on in hopes of making a difference one last time.
She is survived by Cullen, Jared and his wife and brother-in-law Chung and Taik Song, LLP five grandchildren — Quinn, Jamison, Spencer, Delilah and Wallace — and her companion, partner and good pancake of 25 years, Bruce Thomas. There are no immediate plans for a memorial service. Karen would be pleased to hear of contributions to the Shriners Hospitals for Children in her honor.