Karen Anne (Farnsworth) Sheldon, 70, originally of Leominster, died peacefully in her sleep on Thursday, June 20th, due to complications attributed to her long battle with ALS and FTD.
Karen was born in Leominster on February 17th, 1949, the first child of Arthur and Marie (Goodale) Farnsworth. She would become the oldest of six children, acting as a playmate and role model for her siblings Gary, Joan, David, John, and Anne. The family house on Arlington Street was always full of laughter and love particularly when the Farnsworths welcomed friends and extended family over for holidays and gatherings, which was often.
Karen attended St. Leo’s Elementary School and St. Bernard’s High School, where she made lifelong friends such as Kathy Boehning and Donna Gauthier. It was during high school that she met the love of her life, Wayne Sheldon. After graduating high school in 1967, she and Wayne were irrevocably bonded after a horrific car crash in the summer of 1968. Following their convalescence, the two fell even more in love and married on October 11, 1969. They lived for a time in Michigan while Wayne was stationed with the Air Force, but soon returned to Leominster expecting their first child, a daughter Jennifer. Two sons would later follow, William and Scott. Karen was a devoted wife and mother for all of her days. Her dedication to her entire extended family, as well as her in-laws, was well known through her affectionate hugs, kind words, and loving exuberance. Her cooking was legendary. The family enjoyed trips to Disneyworld and Bermuda, but made regular trips to Hampton Beach every summer, a favorite spot of Karen’s, where they would often be joined by additional family and friends. Karen and Wayne were lifelong friends with Richie and Gail Abare, and with them created an expanded circle of friendship with the Goodhues, Bouliers, Pitres, and Salafias among many others. Karen was an energetic host and adored bringing people together.
For over a decade, Karen offered exceptional childcare out of her home for a variety of children, serving as a guiding influence in their education and upbringing. In the mid 90’s, she changed gears and began working as a diet aide at the Sisters of the Presentation Convent in Leominster. She was known for her tireless efforts to bring a special touch to the lives of the nuns, many of whom she knew since childhood. Karen was known to many in her lifetime for her frequent and enthusiastic acts of charity, from helping out a stranger short on cash in the check-out line at the grocery store to gifting a neighbor $500 to help give their children the Christmas they deserved.
Karen is survived by her husband Wayne; her daughter Jennifer and her husband Andrew Henson, along with their daughters Lily and Natalia; her son William and his wife Jennifer, along with their daughter Victoria and son William; and her son Scott. She is also survived by her brother Gary Farnsworth and his wife Barbara; her sister Joan Lortie and her husband Dennis; her brother David Farnsworth and his wife Suzanne; her brother John Farnsworth and his wife Brenda; and her sister Anne Leonard and her husband John. She is also survived by numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews, as well as her aunt Clare Goodale. The legacy of her lifetime of kindness and laughter will be felt by all.
She was predeceased by her parents, Arthur Farnsworth and Marie (Goodale) Farnsworth, and her father and mother-in-law, Wesley Sheldon and Margaret (Curry) Sheldon. She was also predeceased by her beloved niece Michelle Farnsworth.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, July 21st at the residence of Karen’s brother David Farnsworth, at 34 Debbie Drive in Leominster. Please join the family in celebrating Karen’s amazing spirit anytime from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to help fight ALS (previously known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) at alsa.org.
Private cremation held under the direction the DAVIS & WAGNER FUNERAL HOME, 171 Delaware St., Woodbury, NJ. Memories and condolences shared at daviswagner.com