Karen Ann Haralson de Galvez

The daughter of the late Dora T. and Dr. Robert H. Haralson, Jr., of Maryville, our sister, aunt, daughter-in-law, mother, grandmother and friend to so many, has left us to be embraced by God and the loved ones that left before her, Saturday, January 26, very early in the morning at her home in Lo Barnechea, a suburb of Santiago, Chile. She is now at peace and resting after suffering, especially over the last four months, the effects of cancer.

Karen’s life was one of great adventure, accomplishment, giving and also of great sadness. She married Roberto Galvez in 1962, and in 1964 moved with him to his native Guatemala. They later moved to Argentina and finally to Chile, where she and Roberto founded a successful commercial fishing business. Their son Roberto (Bobby) died in a tragic accident and two years later her husband was killed in an airplane crash. But Karen turned the tragedy of her son’s death into two positive actions. She turned to pottery as a therapeutic tool, then developed her craft to become a world renowned potter, learning from masters from Japan to North Carolina. And she and a friend founded Renancer (“Rebirth”), a support group bringing together other parents who had to endure the pain of the loss of a child. Her gift of empathy touched many lives, and there are now many chapters of Renancer throughout Chile.

Karen lived life to the fullest, even after she knew she was sick, traveling to her beloved Smoky Mountains each year, to the Guatemalan volcanoes, to the majestic Andes, the Easter Islands, the Galapogos, Japan, France and Tibet. Her only regret, expressed a few short weeks ago, was that she had not written to all her friends to tell them how much she loved them and how much they meant to her. From all corners of the world, you know who you are. Know that she loved you and was truly thankful for your friendship and were always in her thoughts and prayers.

Services for Karen were held Sunday, January 27, at the Santiago Community Church with the Reverend Shana Harrison officiating, and she was then laid to rest beside her husband and son. Karen is survived by daughters Rebeca Galvez de Torconal and husband Ismael, and Kristina Galvez; by six grandchildren; by brothers, Robert H. Haralson, III, M.D. and wife Antoineta of Chicago and Eric Haralson and wife Wanda of Knoxville; and by sister-in-law, Maria Regina Galvez. Karen requested that memorial donations be made to Esperanza (“Hope”) Sheltered Workshop and Group Home, Santiago, Chile, a sheltered workshop for the mentally challenged where Maria Regina has found hope and comfort. Mailing and other information can be found at their website, www.laesperanczachile.org under “donate.” Memories of Karen may be e-mailed to her daughter at rebecagalvez88@gmail.com.

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