Karen Lucille Flaherty, age 62 of Ferndale, passed away September 30, 2019 after a courageous 11 month battle with Glioblastoma brain cancer. She was born on August 18, 1957 to Frank and Glenister Dews in Nashville, Tennessee, where they resided before relocating to Whatcom County.
Karen graduated from Ferndale High School in 1975, the same year she was crowned Miss Whatcom County. She went on to share her vocal talents as the lead singer of a band before embarking on a 34-year career with Bellingham Police Department, spending a majority of those years as the Records Manager. Karen married Pat Flaherty of Ferndale in 1985. Together they welcomed two daughters Callen and Shalyn who were the center of her world.
She loved singing and gardening, meeting new people and connecting with old friends. Karen treated shopping like a professional sport and sparked a passion for golfing with her husband and girlfriends. Karen enjoyed numerous summers filled with family camping trips and sunny happy hours. She fell in love with network marketing and spent years selling high quality health and wellness products while pursuing personal development with fervor.
Karen retired at the age of 55 and quickly filled her time with traveling adventures and volunteering. She enjoyed several winters “snow-birding” with her husband and friends to California and Arizona. For five years, she was honored to share her positivity and compassion at the Bellingham Cancer Center where she was later cared for (by her “people”) during her own fight with cancer. She was thrilled to welcome her first granddaughter in 2018 and second this October.
Karen had an unparalleled enthusiasm for life which was apparent to anyone who knew or met her. She exuded joy in every situation, and had a knack for making people feel special. Karen will be most remembered for her infectious smile, vibrant personality and exuberant optimism. Her favorite mantra “make it a great day” will be something that her family and friends carry on in her memory.
She is survived by her husband Pat, daughters and sons-in-law Callen and Cameron Fulbright and Shalyn and Garett Andersen and granddaughter Veda, brother Steve Dews, mother-in-law Ruby Flaherty, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Jeff and Cahti Flaherty, sister-in-law Nancy Nordby and other beloved extended family. She is preceded in death by her parents Frank and Glenister Dews; father-in-law Dennis Flaherty.
A Celebration of Life will be held for Karen on Sunday, October 6th at 4pm at Ferndale Events Center. We invite you to continue Karen’s legacy by donning your best and brightest colors.
In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations be made to the Bellingham Cancer Center or Christ Lutheran Church, both of which held a special place in Karen’s heart.
Bellingham Cancer Center
3217 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham WA 98225
Christ Lutheran Church
5904 Vista Drive, Ferndale WA 98248