Miss Karye Jayne Willard, 33, of Quincy, died at 11:30 a.m. Thursday (May 16, 2013) in her home.
Born June 1, 1979 in Columbia, Missouri, Karye is the daughter of Bruce and Marla Hardee Willard.
Karye spent most of her early life in Kenai, Alaska. Her family moved to Quincy in 1994 and Karye graduated from Quincy High School in 1997. She graduated in 2003 from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering.
At the age of twelve, Karye was diagnosed with Friedreich's Ataxia, a progressive neuromuscular disease. She battled numerous health complications throughout her life and was an inspiration to everyone who knew her. She faced the many challenges that came her way with strength, courage, and faith beyond her years. Karye's smile could brighten even the darkest of days and that will truly be missed by those who love her.
Karye had great compassion for people, especially children with disabilities and special needs. In the past she served on the Board of the West Central Illinois Center for Independent Living. Even though her health did not allow her to actively work in her field, she continued to educate herself on current research and projects related to biomedical engineering. Karye also enjoyed reading, writing and listening to music. She was a member of Madison Park Christian Church and enjoyed past opportunities to be involved in the women's ministries Bible studies.
Survivors include her parents, Bruce and Marla Willard of Quincy; a brother, Nick Willard (Kimberly) of Aurora, IL; a sister, Stephanie Willard of Quincy; a niece, Avery Willard of Aurora, IL; three aunts, Melva Graham (Jim) of Milton, IL, Sue Kamm (Bob) of NYC, and Jayne Chrouser (Bruce) of Louisville, KY; three uncles, David Willard (Nancy) of St. Louis, Michael Hardee (Dorothy) of Kirksville, MO, and Bill Hardee (Susan) of Fort Worth, TX; and many loving cousins and extended family members.
Karye was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents, Travis and Eva Willard; and her maternal grandparents, Robert and Beverly Hardee; and a first cousin in infancy, Elizabeth Jayne Chrouser.
Funeral services will be held Monday morning at 11:00 in Madison Park Christian Church by Pastor Larry Smith.
Visitation will be Sunday evening from 4:00 to 7:00 at the Zehender Robinson Stormer Cookson Funeral Home and Monday morning from 10:00 until the time of services at Madison Park Christian Church.
Memorials may be made to the Friedreich Ataxia Research Alliance (F.A.R.A), Dorce Missions, or the Blessing Foundation for Hospice.