As first a military child of a Navy corpsman and then a military spouse for over 20 years Karen traveled the world, living and visiting many overseas and stateside locations, finally settling in St. Mary’s County, MD in 1975. Most of her 33 year civil servant career was at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, starting as a clerk typist at the US Navy Test Pilot School to being the first female supervisor at the Information Management Division. Karen culminated her career at the highest level as a member of the Senior Executive Service leading Corporate Operations for the Naval Air Systems Command. She was a founder, executive director and longtime supporter of Leadership Southern Maryland. She was an active member of the Patuxent Presbyterian Church, including longtime service in the Stephen Ministries. Karen was also involved in the Rotary Club, a proud member of the Democratic National Committee and many other community service organizations.
Karen’s education culminated with an Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland. Karen was a servant leader and loved everyone she came in contact with; she never met a stranger. She was dearly loved by all who knew her and will never be forgotten by so many that had the honor of calling her family, friend, coach, mentor and cheerleader.
Her peace came from enjoying God’s creation across the world, with the Finger Lakes of NY and Outer Banks of NC being among her top favorites. She shared those moments with her family and friends for many years. She was an avid reader, with her favorite book being A Town Like Alice, and her favorite song was High Hopes, which epitomized her optimism and belief in being able to successfully take on life’s challenges.
In 2016 Karen and Jack moved to Melbourne, Florida to be close to her daughter Janice and son-in-law Pete, but most importantly her grandchildren – Aidan and Zachary. She loved participating in all of their sports and band activities and being an active part of their world.
Karen is survived by her husband of 28 years Jackie (Jack) Lee Holcomb, her beloved daughter Janice Elaine Tyson Zilch (Douglas “Pete”), her cherished grandsons Aidan John and Zachary Wayne, all of whom reside in the Melbourne, FL area; her brothers Charles Hilliard (Jane) and Leslie Hilliard (Linda) and her two nephews, Daniel and Benjamin.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Mr. Alvia Theodore Hilliard and Mrs. Shirley Reba Hilliard.
A private celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Karen bravely fought but ultimately lost the battle to Alzheimer’s disease and its cruel characteristics. In her memory please send condolences to the family and donations by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association tribute page at http://act.alz.org/goto/Karen_Holcomb.
Offering deepest, heartfelt condolences and prayers for the entire Family.
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