Karen M. McGillivray 1936 - 2021

Karen Margaret McGillivray, 84, left us on January 19, 2021. She passed peacefully at her home in Friendsview Retirement Community in Newberg, Oregon. The much-loved sister, aunt and friend will be greatly missed by her community of friends and family.

Karen was born August 24, 1936, at home in Richland, Oregon, to parents Catharina D. (Sass) McGillivray and Kenneth M. McGillivray. She spent her first four years in the small Northeastern Oregon community, then moved to McMinnville, where she attended kindergarten above an ice cream shop on N.E. Third and Baker. Karen was raised with a love of music, and she first picked up the clarinet in third grade. She played in band through the rest of her schooling, with the McMinnville High School and Linfield College bands, and in the Eastern Oregon College orchestra, as well as by invitation with the Grande Ronde Symphony. She enjoyed attending concerts and musicals with friends and family throughout her life.

Karen graduated cum laude with a degree in education from Eastern Oregon College in 1958. After teaching three years, she went back to school and earned a master's in Christian Education at Pacific School of Religion in Berkley, California. She put her whole heart into teaching for more than three decades as an elementary school teacher with the Salem-Keizer School District. Her dedication to being an excellent teacher, supporting her colleagues, and improving conditions for students served her well for many years as an officer of the Salem Education Association, a member of the Oregon Education Association, and a representative of Oregon to the National Education Association. She earned the respect of her colleagues and students by being an articulate and devoted advocate and was elected to multiple teaching honors' organizations.

She was whip-smart, witty and clever, with an inquisitive and adventurous nature, a life-long love of learning and teaching and a passion for service. She took great pleasure in sharing games, puns, brainteasers and puzzles with her like-minded family and friends. After her retirement from teaching, she carried on sharing her love of knowledge with her niece and nephews and their children. She had a special affection for and a place as honorary grandparent for her great-niece and nephews, Amara, Ryan, Boon and Hero.

Karen was active in the Methodist Church, serving on various committees and helping produce newsletters and organize events. She was an outspoken advocate for basic rights and women’s rights, and knitted hundreds of hats and scarves to donate to neighbors in need.

Karen loved adventures, and traveled to places like Costa Rica, Scotland, Germany, and Washington, D.C. She drove the entire length of the Oregon Coast with her niece and nephew, and she drove with her mother and niece through most of the states of the U.S. on her way to and from the National Education Association Conference in Miami Beach. And whenever the forecast called for a storm at the beach, Karen was always quick to book a room with a view to watch the waves.

Her love of learning prompted her to research her own family ancestry, as well. Karen traced the McGillivray family tree back to Scotland in the 1500s, leaving a treasure trove of details about the family.

Anyone who knew Karen knows that she adored Scottie dogs. Her own three Scottie dogs, Duncan, Robbie and Rumble, brought her many years of joy and companionship. Karen is survived by her beloved brother, Kevin and his wife Sandy of Beaverton, brother, Pete (Nancy) of Springfield; niece, Allison; and nephews, Scott, Todd, Mike, Steve and Randy.


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