In Memoriam: Karen Fry (1948–2017)

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Karen Fry
Karen Fry

We are very sad to share with you that Karen Fry, the wonderful administrative manager of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry from 2004 to 2010, passed away on April 2 in Paradise, California, with her husband Raymond Miller at her side. She was 68 years old and had waged a heroic battle with cancer for several years.

Karen worked for the university in various capacities for 29 years. She first worked in the Graduate Division and then in Contracts and Grants, where she helped faculty submit their grant proposals. She was very organized, had a keen understanding of bureaucracy, paid close attention to detail, and she was always willing to go the extra mile to help faculty and researchers succeed. No task was too small or too big for Karen, and many of us will forever treasure her tireless efforts on our behalf when we were sending off proposals, often at the last minute.  

Karen worked as Assistant Director of Development for Physical and Biological Sciences from 2001 to 2004, at which time she joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She was an exceptional administrative manager and a great team player. We are all very grateful for her positive attitude and the time she spent making sure the department ran smoothly. Karen was particularly helpful to our new faculty, making sure their often stressful pre-tenure years were as smooth as possible.

Karen was not just a superb manager, but also a wonderful person and a dear friend. She got to know numerous faculty members, staff, and students, many of whom have very fond memories of working with her and recall her upbeat personality, kindness, and warmth.

After retiring in 2010, Karen and Ray moved to Paradise, California, where she was a volunteer at Feather River Hospital (RH) for seven years. She also served with Meals on Wheels, was President of the 2016 Volunteer Board, and the editor of Pink Feather, the newsletter for FRH volunteers. Karen was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and she loved ancestry, antiques, and travel.

Karen is survived by her husband, Raymond Miller; brother, Michael Varner; stepson, Matthew Miller; stepdaughter, Erin Miller; three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A Celebration of Life for Karen will be held Sunday, April 23, 3 p.m., at Paradise Alliance Church, 6491 Clark Road in Paradise.

The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to: Paradise Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 342, Paradise, CA 95967, or Barry R. Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary, P.O. Box 841, Durham, CA 95938.