Karen Margaret Brooks passed away on Monday, May 23, 2022, after an extended illness. She was surrounded by loved ones as she passed peacefully. Karen was born on October 16, 1954, in Cleveland, Ohio. She was preceded in death by her parents, Margaret and Paul Getzlaff, and her sweet great-niece, Sadie Schuster. Karen is survived by her husband of 34 years, James Brooks; her sister, Ellen Hitti (Ross) and her two nieces: Erin Schuster (Matt, great-nephews Henry and Elliot) and Rachel Pfaff (Ryan, great-nieces Evie and Fiona), whom she loved very much, and they called her “Aunt Kee.” Karen is also survived by an extended family in Ohio. Even though she lived across the country she always went the “extra mile” for her family, relatives and friends back in Ohio, returning regularly and helping in every way she could. And with every trip to Ohio, she always made time to visit the shores of her beloved Lake Erie.
Karen lived in Fairview Park, Ohio, graduated high school there, attended Kent State for two years, then transferred to Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, with a degree in Outdoor Education. As Jim described, his wife broke a lot of “glass ceilings” in her lifetime. She worked as a HotShot fire fighter in the state of Washington. She also planted trees with the Hoedads Reforestation Cooperative in the 1970s.
Karen moved from the Northwest to Gallup, New Mexico in the mid-80’s and worked for the Bureau of Land Management where she worked on wild-land firefighting and performed timber-stand studies.
After a couple of years in Gallup, Karen moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she continued to work for the BLM. After a short time there, she attended the School of Natural Therapeutics and became a massage therapist extraordinaire. She touched the lives of many throughout her 35 years of practicing as a massage therapist and as a teacher of massage therapy at the School of Natural Therapeutics. Karen continued to be a lifelong student in that field, always expanding her knowledge base and observation skills. She was truly a gifted healer.
She and her husband, Jim, owned Soilutions composting business for 24 years in the South Valley in Albuquerque. Karen was a true keeper of the earth, always conscious of the water, air and condition of the earth, both positive and negative.
Karen was a well-informed, feminist and liberal-minded Democrat who enjoyed conversing and exchanging ideas with differently-opinionated people. She was never afraid to speak her mind and always spoke her truth. She was also a giving humanist who was always in the service of others, whether humans or animals. Karen didn’t know a stranger and was always willing to help anyone in need.
Karen had amazing, well-loved dogs throughout her lifetime. Oly lived with her in the Pacific Northwest and would kayak with her across the Puget Sound to get to school, day and night. She and Jim found discarded puppies in Taos and kept two of them: Sweet Pea and Barkley, who hiked all over Tijeras with her and always got her home safely. Her easy laugh was a delight and she loved a good pun.
Karen was a student of Siddha Yoga and very active at the Siddha Yoga Meditation Center of Albuquerque. Her visits to the Ashram in Upstate New York helped deepen her spiritual journey and connection to this world.
Karen’s Celebration-of-Life Memorial service will be held on Friday, July 1st, 2022, at 2 p.m., at the Wyoming Chapel of Daniel’s Funeral home: 7601 Wyoming Boulevard, Northeast, Albuquerque, NM 87109. Please come and share your stories of Karen.
In lieu of flowers, please visit the Sympathy Store at www.Legacy.com, to plant a tree or two in Karen’s memory. That would make her extremely happy!