Karen Kay Churchman, a resident of Bella Vista, Ark., was born Oct. 11, 1971, in Tallahassee, Fla., the daughter to Herbert G. Churchman and Kathlyn M. (Churchman) Tillman. She passed away on March 21, 2015, at Mercy Hospital in Rogers, Ark., after a brief hospital stay.
She was preceded in death by her father, Herb Churchman; stepfather, Dr. Ernest Tillman; paternal grandparents, Herbert O. and Mary Churchman; maternal grandparents, Herman L. and Marie Ackerman; and nephew, Joshua Giffin.
Karen, affectionately known as KK, is survived by her mother, Kathlyn M. Tillman; her siblings, K. Gayle Machetta and husband, Peter of Henryetta, Okla., Kimberly D. Denham and husband, Robin, of Medora, Daniel L. Churchman and wife, Leigh, of Birmingham, Ala., and Joanne Berry and husband, David, of Edwardsville, Carol Haukap of St. Louis, Paul Tillman and wife, Jane, of St. Peters, Mo., Richard Tillman and wife, Tereasa, of Federal Way, Wash.; and their collective 16 children who were Karen’s nieces and nephews; and 13 great-nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her fiancé, T. J. Bruce, and his children, Audrey, Nathan, and Jacob; and their extended family. A host of aunts and uncles, cousins, and dear friends are also among her loved ones.
Karen graduated from Alton Senior High School in 1989, where she was a member of the Marching 100 Band and Encounter Christian Musical Ministry. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Oklahoma in 1993, where she played clarinet as a member of the Pride of Oklahoma marching band. During her collegiate years, she was an active member of the Tau Beta Sigma band sorority and the Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity.
Holding various positions as a Walmart associate, she moved to Bella Vista in 2002 and completed her Certification as a Human Resources Professional in 2011. She was an accomplished vocal and instrumental musician and published poet. She enjoyed gardening, cooking, Sooner sports, St. Louis Cardinals Baseball, NFL football, NASCAR, golf, canasta, and most of all, entertaining her family and loved ones.
Karen was a member of St. Stephen’s Catholic parish in Bentonville, Ark. Her interment will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 23, at Roselawn Cemetery in Bethalto, with the Rev. William Hembrow of Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Jerseyville, officiating at the graveside service. In lieu of flowers, the family has designated memorial contributions to be made to the Nomad Shrine Club Transportation Fund of Bella Vista, Ark., c/o Phil Grier, 2 Barrra Lane, Bella Vista, AR 72715.