Karen Lee Renk

By on July 31, 2014
renk picture jpeg

Karen Lee Renk (nee Shanahan) of Sugar Grove, formerly of Naperville, Ill., was born on July 8, 1949, in Springfield, and left this world on Sunday, July 27, 2014. After a heroic nine-month battle with cancer, she peacefully took her last breaths surrounded by family and in the care of hospice. Karen was an amazing woman; her wisdom, love and counsel touched everyone that she met.

Karen is survived by her loving husband, Thomas F. Renk, whom she had celebrated 43 years of marriage with last September. Married in 1970, she and Tom have three children, Courtney (Derek) Brinkman of Rockville, Md., Michael Renk of Gilbert, Ariz., and Katherine Renk of Austin, Texas. She was a proud and ever-present nana to Logan and Taylor Brinkman. She is also survived by her father-in-law, Ralph Renk, who always considered her his “second daughter”; two sisters, Michaela Shanahan of Oakland, Calif., and Megan (William) Morehead of Maryville, Tenn.; as well as an extended family that love her dearly.

Karen was preceded in death by her parents, Dennis and Bettye Shanahan of LaGrange, Ill.; and her brother, Dennis C. Shanahan.

Karen graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater in 1971. She was an honored teacher in both Racine, and West Allis, Wis. She was also an educator at Weekend College for Women at Alverno College in Milwaukee. Karen then began her career in association management, opening her own firm and helping to create the Incentive Marketing Association, a global trade organization now recognized as the premier resource for promoting the importance and value of results-based incentive and recognition programs.

Karen was an active and engaged member of all the communities she called home—first Wauwatosa, Wis., before moving to Naperville and eventually to Sugar Grove.

Visitation will begin at 9 a.m., followed by an 11 a.m. funeral mass on Saturday, Aug. 16, at St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, 8S055 Dugan Road, Sugar Grove.

Arrangements are being handled by Healy Chapel, Sugar Grove. For further information, call (630) 466-1330 or www.caringbridge.org/visit/karenrenk and www.healychapel.com to sign the online guest book.