Obituary: Karen Marie Paquette 1955-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Karen Marie Paquette 1955-2024 

As a coordinator in UVM’s payroll office for nearly 40 years, she earned the nickname “payroll Karen”

Published April 8, 2024 at 6:00 a.m. | Updated April 8, 2024 at 10:53 a.m.

click to enlarge Karen Paquette - COURTESY
  • Courtesy
  • Karen Paquette

Karen Marie Paquette (Williams) entered into eternal peace on April 2, 2024. Karen passed peacefully at home, surrounded by family and friends, after a courageous three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Karen was born on August 3, 1955, in Lindenhurst, Long Island, the daughter of Walter Williams and Jeanne Virginia Remsen. Karen was the oldest of six children and, later in life, three stepsiblings. She grew up on Sherbrooke Road and made many close friends there, as well as through Lindenhurst High School, where she graduated in 1973. Karen made her initial journey to Vermont, a place she would call home for the next 49 years, in 1973, when she moved to Enosburg to live on a farm — the true “Vermont Life.” She returned to Long Island in the mid ‘70s to help take care of her family after the death of her mother, Jeanne, and worked with her father at Con Edison. In the late ‘70s Karen made the final move back to Vermont and never looked back.

Shortly after journeying to Vermont, she met the love of her life and husband, Maurice (Moe) Paquette. They got married in Craftsbury on October 9, 1982, and celebrated each day over the next 42 years. Their journey eventually took them to the New North End, where they spread their roots throughout the Burlington community. Their family grew with the birth of Rochelle (Shelly), followed by Maurice (Moe) Paquette II. Their family would spend the next 31 years together, laughing, living and loving.

Karen was dedicated to her job and work family. She started at the University of Vermont Medical Center (Fletcher Allen) on “Shep 3” in 1980, where she worked as unit clerk. She would go on to dedicate nearly 40 years of her life to working at UVM, the majority of those years as “payroll Karen,” in the payroll office as a coordinator. While at UVM, she made lifelong friends that meant the world to her and her family: Maggie Hebert, Julie Turpin, Lucie Paquette, Darla Ayer, Vicki Pelkey and Jamie Libby, as well as innumerable close friends she considered family. She was months away from retirement when she was initially diagnosed in 2021, truly a UVM “lifer.”

Karen was the proud co-owner of Papa Frank’s Italian Restaurant, which she and Moe purchased in 2004 from lifelong friends Frank and Gail Sciara. She deeply loved and cared for all the employees and “Papa Frank’s babies.” She was even prouder to be “Mima” to Clementine, who brightened her days during the last 18 months of her life.

She is survived by her husband, Moe; children, Shelly (Josh Shamoon) and Moe (Emily Laughlin); granddaughter Clementine; sisters, Micki Martin (Randy) and Chris Hotelling (Michael); sisters-in-law, Lucie Paquette and Carol Myjak-Paquette (Bill); brothers-in-law, Mark Paquette (Penny) and Keith Dunbar; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. She is also survived by parishioners of Saint Mark’s Church, where she was a devout member, as well as the loyal patrons of Papa Frank’s.

Karen was predeceased by her parents, Walter Williams, Jeanne Remsen and Jean Carney; as well as her siblings, Robert Williams, Stephanie Dunbar and Nancy Hespeler; and brother-in-law David Ugalde.

The Paquette family would like to thank the Oncology Clinic at UVM, specifically Drs. Anker and Greenblatt, as well as all the “chemo girls,” who made Karen smile during the darkest days of treatment, and the hospice team, who allowed Karen to spend her final days at home, surrounded by family, friends and love.

From dad to mom: The battle ended, but she won the fight. “I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday.” Kris Kristofferson

Calling hours will be on Wednesday April 10, 2024, from 5 to 8 p.m., at the LaVigne Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 132 Main St., Winooski, VT. A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Thursday, April 11, at 1 p.m., at St. Mark’s Catholic Church, 1251 North Ave., Burlington. A reception will follow at the Elks Lodge, 925 North Ave., Burlington, VT 05408.

A celebration of life will be held this summer in Craftsbury, Vt., to honor Karen. Online condolences can be shared with the family at In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Stephanie Dunbar Memorial Scholarship Fund, Craftsbury Town Clerk, P.O. Box 55, Craftsbury, VT 05826.

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