Karen L. (McConnachie) Caswell

June 2, 1948 ~ December 12, 2023 (age 75) 75 Years Old

Karen Caswell Obituary

Karen Louise (McConnachie) Caswell, age 75, passed away on December 12, 2023 after a seven-month battle with pancreatic cancer.  Karen was born in Chicago, IL on June 2, 1948, the daughter of Robert and Louise (Lewin) McConnachie.

She grew up in Lansing and South Holland, IL south of Chicago and spent summers in Mackinaw City, MI with her grandparents, parents, and sisters.

Karen graduated from Thornridge High School in 1966 and attended Illinois State University playing flute and piccolo in the marching band and earning a teaching degree in 1970.  She lived in Mackinaw City, North Carolina, the Chicago area, Midland, MI, and was a 40-year resident of the Escanaba, MI area and taught elementary school in South Holland, Mackinaw City, and Escanaba as a full-time and substitute teacher.

Karen married Paul Caswell in 1975 (twenty years after their first meeting during a summer in Mackinaw when she was 6 and he was 5, Paul joking often that it was the last time she was taller than him) and they were married for 45 years until his passing in 2020.

Karen is survived by their daughter Kristen Caswell and her husband Brad Williams of Okemos, MI and their daughter Erin Palmreuter of Gig Harbor, WA; their much beloved grandchildren Katherine, Benjamin, and Jill Palmreuter and Piper Williams; her sister Libby Pasztor and her husband, Tom; sister Robin McConnachie; sister-in-law Carol (Roger) Caswell, and sister-in-law and brother-in-law Julie Caswell and Richard Rogers.

Even though she was a “Chicago girl,” she loved living in the Upper Peninsula.  She was passionate about education, always talking with children like they were adults and helping them and their parents to develop the tools they needed to learn and succeed.  This extended to her long-time service in the Wells PTO and organizing of the local spelling bee.  She loved books and reading, sewing and quilting, cooking, and travel – especially to see her grandchildren, to Karen and Paul's family cottage in Mackinaw City where she was a long-time officer of the Wawatam Beach Association, and to Scotland to celebrate her Scottish ancestry. She was an avid and dedicated volunteer and community organization member and leader in PEO (Chapter Z), Friends of the Escanaba Library, Coterie, at Bethany Lutheran Church (lay leadership, church council, quilting, organizing dinners at Bay College, The Free Store), and since Paul’s passing developed a love for local politics attending city council and county commission meetings to voice her support for her friends and causes.  

The memorial service for Karen will be celebrated by Rev. Lily Brondyke at 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, at Bethany Lutheran Church, 202 S. 11th Street, Escanaba, MI 49829. Prior to the service, relatives and friends may call on the family during a time of visitation from 2 until 4 p.m. at the church. A graveside remembrance will be held in the summer of 2024 at Lakeview Cemetery in Mackinaw City, MI.

The family requests memorials please be directed to Bethany Lutheran Church or Escanaba Friends of the Library.

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January 2, 2024

2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Bethany Lutheran Church (Escanaba)

Memorial Service
January 2, 2024

4:00 PM
Bethany Lutheran Church (Escanaba)


Bethany Lutheran Church
202 South 11th Street, Escanaba MI 49829
Tel: 1-906-786-6642

Friends of the Library, c/o Escanaba Public Library
400 Ludington Street, Escanaba MI 49829


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