Karen Foley Fletcher, 56, died peacefully in her home after a very short battle with cancer. She is survived by her mother Sue Foley of Stillwater, sister, Gina and Dean Truitt of Minneapolis, Minn., nephew and his wife, Jeff and Britney Truitt of Kansas City, Mo., and two nieces, Angela and Mindy Truitt of Chicago, Ill., and her aunt, Sherry Breaker of Cushing.
Karen was born Oct. 27, 1957, in Galliano, La., and lived on Grand Isle (a tiny island about 250 miles south of New Orleans) and then in New Orleans until age 12. In 1970, the family moved to Oklahoma because her dad wanted his girls to marry Oklahoma boys. Both did. Karen never lost her love of the beach and the water.
In high school, Karen’s musical talents included singing and playing the piano – both at school and church. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Central Oklahoma, which was Central State University at that time. Karen worked in several hospitals before discovering her true calling, which was home health care.
Mutual friends in the early 1980s introduced her to the love of her life, Randy Fletcher, and the two were married in 1982. They later divorced, but they remained the closest of friends until his death in 2011.
In 1983, she was named the director of nursing for VNA of Oklahoma (Visiting Nurse Association), where she worked for 11 years and organized many fundraisers, including a golf outing every year. The home health care industry was still in its infancy at that time and she was instrumental in setting policy and regulatory controls for the budding industry. In 1994, she was named president of the Oklahoma Association for Home Care. The governor, Frank Keating, appointed Karen to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing in 1998 where she served for five years, becoming the president in 2002. Over the years, she and Randy lived in Weatherford, Claremore and Tulsa. Karen received the entrepreneurial itch from her father and started her own consulting business in 2003. She consulted home health care agencies across the state, helping them become survey ready for state accreditation from the Joint Commission for Accreditation of Health Care Agencies. She also authored continuing education courses for health care professionals and taught seminars across Oklahoma. In 2009, after the death of her father, Karen moved to Stillwater to care for her mother.
Karen’s life was filled with activities and she experienced great joy when friends helped to create the memories. She loved scuba diving (particularly in the Caribbean), camping, fishing, boating, golfing and motorcycle riding. Her creative spirit was reflected in the many handmade gifts she designed, including gorgeous jewelry pieces. Countless times she moved in with friends to help care for aging parents or loved ones. Her family and friends will sorely miss her.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Judith Karman Hospice, 915 S. Main St., Stillwater, OK, or the Visiting Nurse Association of Tulsa, 7875 E. 51st St., Tulsa, OK.
There will be a celebration of her life at 2 p.m. Sunday at University Heights Baptist Church, 323 S. Knoblock in Stillwater The family requests that those attending wear purple, which was her favorite color.