Karen Williams, of Milan, succumbed to the complications of Alzheimer’s at Ferncliff Nursing Home in Rhinebeck on June 17 after a courageous 15 year battle with the disease. The wife of Ross Williams for 48 years, they lived in Cranbury, New Jersey; Sherman, Texas; Bethel, Connecticut; Bloomfield, Michigan; and Lewisboro, New York.
She was born to parents Fred and Ruth (Fischer) Bleier in Jamaica, Queens, NY on July 17, 1946, and grew up in East Meadow, NY, graduating from East Meadow High School in 1964. She attended Harper College, now Binghamton University, and received her BA in Social Science, Summa Cum Laude, in 1976 from Western Connecticut State College in Danbury. She received her LLB degree from Wayne State University School of Law in Detroit, MI., in 1980. After relocating with her husband to Westchester County in 1981, she became a member of the NY Bar.
Choosing to be a soccer coach and at-home Mom over practicing law, she was the JV girls coach at John Jay – Cross River High School from 1984 to 1992. After her diagnosis with dementia, Karen participated in two significant drug trials in New York City, seeking a solution for others who might get this terrible disease.
Karen was a rare combination of intellect and athlete – in addition to playing and coaching soccer, she was an outstanding shortstop for a championship fast-pitch women’s softball team in Sherman, Texas. As a lover of the outdoors, she owned her horse, Zephyr, in Texas, grew great flowers and food in her gardens, and spent many wonderful vacations with her family camping and hiking in New York and the western U.S. She was delighted to move in 2001 to a home in Milan which she helped design, realizing her childhood dream to live in the country.
In addition to her husband, Karen is survived by her parents in East Meadow, and, residing in Milan, by her only son Michael and his wife, Amy, and the “apples of Karen’s eye,” granddaughters Abby and Kate. Also, she is survived by her sister, Cathy Bleier and her husband Peter Meyer of El Cerrito, CA; and, from Long Island, by her brother Fred Bleier and his wife Alice; by her nieces Colleen (Bleier) Straker and husband Kevin and their children, Kayla, Khloe, and Caden, and Kimberly (Bleier) Giusto and her husband, Michael, and their children, Cole and Luca, and by her nephew, Kurt Bleier, as well as the mother of Colleen, Kimberly and Kurt, Judith (Dunn) Bleier. Her one cousin, Patricia (Bleier) Baldwin, lives in Dallas, TX. Also surviving is Karen’s great companion during her illness, Reggie-dog.
A celebration of her life will occur at a later date, and interment will be private at the family’s discretion. Contributions in Karen’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Foundation, 2 Jefferson Plaza, Ste. 103, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, or on-line at alz.org. The family thanks the caring staff at Ferncliff for all they did for Karen.