Born in 1962 to William Ronald Starnes and Elizabeth Ann Milligan Starnes, Karen was a 1981 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School. She graduated from University of Tennessee with a degree in Early Childhood Development and worked for several years as a preschool teacher in Knoxville. After moving back to Kingsport and completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at ETSU in 1994, she worked as a Registered Nurse in Johnson City until 2013, when health issues precluded her return to work.
Karen was a devoted daughter, sister, and aunt. She cherished her three nieces and attended as many of their events as her schedule and her health allowed. She was a member of First Broad Street United Methodist Church and Highlands Emmaus Community, participating through the years in various ministry opportunities.
Karen was preceded in death by her father, William Ronald Starnes, and her grandparents.
She is survived by her mother, Elizabeth (Betty) Ann Milligan Starnes; sister, Diane Starnes Hawkins and husband Andy; nieces Jordan, Caroline, and Dede; cousins Jan Hickman Stair, Kathy Hickman Huff, Bill Peeples , and Bob Peeples.
The family extends special thanks to Barbara Bralley, Peter Wirt, Telisa Nelms, and Amedisys Hospice for their care which allowed Karen to stay at home.
The Celebration of Life service will be held on Friday, January 17, at 2 p.m. in the chapel of First Broad Street United Methodist Church with the Rev. Randall Frye officiating. Visitation in the church parlor will follow the service.
Graveside service will be conducted Saturday at noon at Oak Hill Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you simply reach out to someone who is lonely or struggling. Invite them to church, share a meal, or simply visit. If you would like to make a donation in Karen’s memory please consider giving to Highlands Emmaus Community, 744 Bluff City Hwy, Bristol, TN 37620, or to First Broad Street UMC, 100 E. Church Circle, Kingsport, TN, 37660 (earmark donations for “Friendship Diner”).