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Karen M. Turk

Obituary for Karen M. Turk

March 11, 1946 - July 13, 2020
of Aurora,Illinois recently of Chicago, Illinois | Age 74


Karen M. Turk, 74, of Aurora, IL, recently living in Chicago, passed away Monday, July 13, 2020 at home on hospice care surrounded by beloved daughter Jennifer Turk and cherished dog Gabe, after courageously battling cancer for 4 years.

Karen leaves behind a lifelong legacy of child advocacy that brought healing to countless children experiencing abuse, neglect, and injustice in the Aurora area and across the nation. Her family and friends mourn the loss of this selfless champion for children and disadvantaged families.

From her time as a young mother living in Aurora, Karen directed her considerable talent and passion fighting child abuse and helping struggling families escape poverty. She began her career at the Youth Service Bureau in Aurora, and then became the co-founder and program director at the Family Support Center. She also served as program coordinator for Healthy Families America. Realizing the need to enhance and coordinate essential services for families in crisis, she designed and led Aurora's Community Resource Team (CRT). She was an active member of the Aurora Exchange Club and the Kane County Chapter of Prevent Child Abuse Illinois.

Karen was service coordinator for homeless individuals and families staying at Hesed House in Aurora. She worked for Project REACH in the Chicagoland area advocating for the educational rights of homeless children and youth, which she described as a quest for civil rights. She was a founding board member of the national advocacy organization HEAR US Inc., giving voice and visibility to children, youth and families experiencing homelessness.

Her efforts gained her statewide recognition. She was presented with the Illinois Governor's Advocacy for Children Award. She also received the Friend of Homeless Children Award, Lake County, (IL) Continuum of Care; Community Service Award, Friend of Children award, Prevent Child Abuse Illinois; and Aurora YWCA Woman of Distinction award.

Her spare time centered around creative endeavors and supporting young people in the arts. She enthusiastically encouraged young people participating in musical and stage performances. Karen's artistic flair was seen in personalized quilts and decorative awards. She went out of her way to highlight the efforts of others making the world a better place.

Karen resided with her daughter Jennifer throughout her entire cancer journey. With a loving, strong bond, they weathered each and every storm together. An avid reader her entire life, Karen completed several books a week, ending each night reading her Kindle. She enjoyed the lakefront trail, all things Chicago architecture, the Chicago Art Museum, stained glass exhibits, going to breakfast, and taking dog Gabe to parks to play ball, seeing who could get covered in more mud.

Her daughter Jennifer wishes to thank the Rush University Medical Center Oncology Team who went above and beyond to provide the most excellent care and endless support over the years.

Karen was born in Dawson, MN on March 11, 1946, and spent most of her childhood in Kansas City, MO. She graduated from the University of Missouri and attended Aurora University (IL).

She is survived by her daughter, Jennifer; sister, Linda (Jim); brother, Norbert (Sharon); sister, Norene (Dale); sister, Mary (Pat) and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Irene (Larson) Yohe and Norbert Henrich, her brother, Paul and niece, Christy.

A celebration of life memorial service will be planned in the future. Friends may visit the legacy page to share their condolences and to learn details of her memorial service.

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Healy Chapel

332 W Downer Pl
Aurora, IL 60506
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