Karen E. Southard

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PROSPECT – Karen E. Southard passed away peacefully, in the loving presence of her family at her home, on January 14, 2024. She left this life much too soon after a brave and heroic fight with cancer. Karen was the loving wife of Mark Southard Sr. for 53 wonderful years.

Born June 12, 1951, in Waterbury, she was a daughter of the late Joseph and Ina (Avellani) Forcucci. Karen was a graduate of Crosby High School. She continued to share her love of learning and reading as a librarian at Community School of Prospect for more than 25 years, where she touched and enriched the lives of many children.

Karen selflessly gave of herself to anyone in need and devoted much of her time to volunteer work, especially at St. Anthony Church. Her most treasured moments were spending time with her family, especially her grandchildren, at the beach.

Many precious memories were made, problems discussed and solved, and laughter shared with her beloved lifelong friends of the “Coffee Group.”

Karen was a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. She surrounded everyone she knew with light, unwavering loyalty, kindness, and love. She was the beating heart and lifeline of her family, and her beautiful smile will always be remembered by all.

Heaven awarded an amazing soul whose mark on this world will forever continue to brightly shine.

In addition to her devoted and loving husband, Mark Southard, those left to cherish her love, mourn her passing, and continue her legacy are her daughter Jennifer and husband John Pia, of Milford; her son Mark Jr. and wife Marlane, of Prospect; her sister Elissa Wagner of North Carolina; and brother Paul and wife Maria Forcucci of Waterbury.

Karen was lovingly called Amma by her cherished grandsons, whom she fiercely loved and absolutely adored: Augustine Pia and Jake and Mason Southard. She will also be remembered by many nieces, nephews, and cousins; as well as her fur grandbabies Dash and Zoey.

Karen also leaves her beloved friend and “soul sister” Kathleen Bequary, and many other dear, dear friends.

Karen was predeceased by her parents, brother Joseph Forcucci and brother-in-law Edward Wagner.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024, at 10 a.m. at St. Anthony Church, 4 Union City Road, Prospect. It is kindly requested that all planning to attend please meet directly at the church. Burial will immediately follow at Prospect Cemetery.

Prospect Memorial/The Palmerie Family Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the Southard family during this very difficult time. Please visit prospectmemorial.com to share your words of love and support.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (stjude.org/donate) in Karen’s honor.