Karen Fern Follis, BSC, CPA, CA, CMA
Passed away peacefully on October 12, 2021, with her husband John, and family members gathered at her side.
Daughter of James and Jean Carnegie (both deceased) of Walkerton ON, predeceased by her brother Stephen (wife Dale of Listowel ON) and her sister Valerie Wallace (Jack of Walkerton ON). Mother of Rebecca Okell (Igor Synauyk), John’s daughter Melanie Friesen (Christopher), Greg Okell (Celine Gelinas), and Carole Ann Woudsma (Clarence). Loving wife to John. Karen was so proud of her seven grandchildren Grace, Courtney, Marcas, Lucas, Noah, Avary, and Celia.
Active in her adopted community of North Bay, Karen chaired the Audit and Finance Committee as a Governor of Nipissing University; she was Vice-chair and Finance Committee Chair for the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. Karen also spent time as Treasurer on the boards of both the Kiwanis Music Festival and the Laurentian Ski Club. Being tuned in to all things political; Karen served as Chief Financial Officer for both provincial and federal elections that successfully sent a North Bay native to the Premiership of Ontario and another to Ottawa as our Member of Parliament.
In the 1960’s, after graduating from McMaster University with a degree in math and philosophy, Karen began her employment life as a computer programmer with London Life Insurance and Hawker Siddeley. Her journey continued as the owner/operator of the Red Lake Travel Agency, which included being under contract to operate the Red Lake Airport. Karen became a Chartered Accountant and Certified Management Accountant, working years with national firms. She transitioned to private practice and also worked with North Bay Fur Sales. Following a successful period with the Ministry of the Solicitor General (Correctional Services), Karen, with her daughter Rebecca, brought The Body Shop to North Bay, an endeavour of which they were immensely proud. Throughout her professional years, Karen was able to encourage worthy women to achieve higher levels of excellence in their careers.
Karen always found time to enjoy sailing and skiing. She was an active member of the North Bay Bridge Club and of course greatly enjoyed her regular foursome during their weekly bridge game or luncheons out. Karen spent summers at the family cottage on the French River, while winters were reserved for cruising, road trippin’ to Florida, and visiting six continents. Every place Karen visited was equally her favourite.
The family would like to offer most sincere thanks to Dr. Kengo Asai of Health Sciences North (Sudbury), Dr. Lacey Pitre Karen’s Oncologist, Dr. Gordon Mah, Kelly and Robbin who offered the highest level of expertise and comfort, as well as the staff of our regional hospital, especially the chemotherapy unit who were always positive and upbeat as she fought the good fight. Special thanks also to Mark and Steve.
Family members and close friends will gather at a later date to share stories and celebrate Karen’s life. Online condolences may be made at www.mcguintyfuneralhome.com
I have tried too in my time to be a philosopher, but I don’t know how. Cheerfulness was always breaking in.
~ Oliver Edwards (1711-1791)
To send flowers to Karen's family, please visit our floral store.