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Karen Cherney Willis

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“It's wonderful to hear about how much she helped others. That's the legacy we leave behind. It's all we can do with our time here on earth. Sending...Read More »
1 of 7 | Posted by: Janna k

“Amy, we were so saddened to see the obituary on your Mother. We have very fond memories of her. Please accept our condolences from our entire family ...Read More »
2 of 7 | Posted by: Karen Mullins - Saint Petersburg, FL

“Aunt Ceil, Julie and Michael, Cori and myself have you in our thoughts and prayers. We have wonderful memories of the pool parties and fun on Perry...Read More »
3 of 7 | Posted by: A friend

“The Hackman Family and the entire staff extend to you our most heartfelt sympathy. ”
4 of 7 | Posted by: Hackman Family Funeral Homes - MI

“I share in your grief. Nearly 40 years of friendship with Karen. Her love, determination and spirit imprinted on my soul forever. I will carry her...Read More »
5 of 7 | Posted by: A friend

“So sorry for your loss Amy, Julie, Lucille. Condolences to the rest of the family as well. Feeling your pain today. ”
6 of 7 | Posted by: Susie Willis - White Pigeon, MI

“I took a real estate class with Karen and remember her being a positive and strong willed person, definitely wanting to get a head in life. I'm so...Read More »
7 of 7 | Posted by: Joy Peck - Strugis, MI


Karen Cherney Willis (previously Santee), 54, passed away on May 3, 2017 at her home in Sturgis, MI.
She was born in Racine, WI in 1962, daughter of Robert and Lucille (Nelson) Cherney. After graduating from J.I. Case High School in 1981, she moved to St. Petersburg, FL where she lived for 28 years. She married Clifford B. Santee Jr. in 1984, and Richard C. Willis in 2007. Karen worked as a self-employed real estate appraiser for the last 12 years, and recently received her real estate license.
Karen's family remembers her fun-loving outlook, intelligence, and fierce independence. They recall the ambition that drove her to take on new challenges with enthusiasm and determination, from moving cross-country to changing careers to undertaking big home improvement projects. She was a nurturing and caring person, illustrated by the things she would do for others. She was a wonderful mom, daughter, sister, aunt and human being.
Karen is survived by son Jeffrey Santee (St. Petersburg, FL); daughter Amy (Isaac Sachs) Santee (Portland, OR); mother Lucille Cherney (Racine, WI); sister Julie (Todd) Taleck (Racine, WI); brother Michael Cherney (Racine, WI) and niece Olivia Taleck.
She was preceded in death by husband Richard Christopher Willis (2016); nephew Ethan Taleck (2008) and her father Robert Cherney (2001).
In accordance with Karen's wishes, cremation has taken place, and a private celebration of her life will be held at a later date.
The Hackman Chapel of Hackman Family Funeral Homes, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis, MI 49091, 269-651-2331 is honored to be entrusted with the arrangements.
The family asks those wishing to honor Karen take a moment to appreciate the joy that loved ones bring into their lives. For those who would like to make a memorial donation in Karen's name, please consider a gift to the Humane Society or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The obituary is also at www.hackmanfamilyfuneralhomes.com where personal messages of support may be left for the family.