Karen Louise Wilson was born on June 20, 1970 at Coney Island Hospital to Florence Murrell and (the late) James Andrew Murrell, Jr. She was born weeks premature, and spent her introduction into this world fighting for her life in the Neonatal Unit attached to tubes and in an incubator. Karen's fight to live was evident from day one, and as you know, would continue until her last breath.
Being the youngest and only girl born after James, III, Douglas and Steven, Karen would often joke that Vanessa Williams’ song "Saved the Best for Last" was her favorite song! Karen attended P.S. 95 for the first years of her life where she unfortunately endured years of bullying and isolation, never really feeling accepted by other children. This would change when she was accepted into The Mark Twain Jr. High School for the Gifted and Talented. It was here that she literally found her voice and found that she could SANG! Karen made many good friends and enjoyed her years of performing in school concerts and plays. Karen's schooling continued in Midwood High where again she majored in Vocal Music and began to tap into acting. Karen took part in not only group concerts but got starring roles in school plays. In fact, the highlight of Karen’s high school years was her lead role in Midwood’s JR Sing in l987. Karen made many friends working on that show and then showed how tough and funny she was when she was forced to perform on opening night with the flu and severe laryngitis. If not for the football hunk (who is now an actor) pushing and encouraging her behind stage, Karen could have thrown in the towel and. gone home. But Karen pressed on as usual and showed how talented she was even with half a voice!
In 1988, just days before her 18th birthday and graduation from Midwood, Karen met Julius Craig Wilson while working at a summer job. Karen and Julius dated for four years and married in front of family and friends on July 24, 1992. Even though Karen and Julius's marriage did not last and was filled with years of turmoil, she believed that deep down they really loved each other and finally learned how to be friends and civil towards one another when all was said and done.
From Karen and Julius' marriage came the two greatest gifts that she could ever receive. Julius, Jr. and Justin were born to the couple in 1995 and in l999. Karen saw quickly how much she enjoyed motherhood, and spent the rest of her years loving and caring for her sons with all her heart and soul.
In May of 2018, Karen was blessed to see the birth of her first grandson Jazz Olie Wilson from her son Julius and his beautiful girlfriend, Dana. Karen took on the role of Nannie with pride and joy, and Jazz brought her a happiness she hadn't seen since Julius’ and Justin’s birth. Jazz was Nannie Baby and she was his Nannie. He was an unexpected gift that she didn't even know she wanted or needed! In 1994, Karen was employed by Verizon as a collections representative, and eventually became a central office technician. It was there that she was blessed with good pay and benefits to support her family.
It was also there that she made life-long friends who would become more like the sisters she never had! Karen was forced to retire from the job that she really loved in May of 2018 due to her illness.
Karen’s journey was not an easy one in any way, but you would never know it. She continued to laugh and joke over the years in the midst of brain surgeries and cancer treatments, and even when she watched all of her possessions float away in Hurricane Sandy in 2012. She would pick herself up after each and every battle and carry on like a champion.
Karen’s relationship and faith in Jesus Christ, which she began in 1999 after joining and being baptized at Baptist Church of the Redeemer, is the reason she was able to endure so much.
Her faith and love for Jesus was important to Karen, and she would say often that she only wanted to hear God say “You did well my daughter!” Karen is survived by her mother Florence Murrell; her sons: Justin and Julius; grandson Jazz; brothers: Douglas, Steven and James, III Murrell; and a host of cousins, other relatives and friends. Sleep well Karen !