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Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself

Karen Ray Memorial

Saturday, November 12
11:30 Am

Napa Methodist Church,

625 Randolph Street Napa, CA

In lieu of flowers the family is asking for          donations to the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation

Members of Unity San Francisco are invited to the memorial service for our dear friend Karen Ray.  Rev. Ken will be speaking, and Misa Malone will be leading music.

NOTE: This is being held at Napa Methodist Church, NOT Unity San Francisco. 

Karen Lucile Ray
June 17, 1956 – October 5, 2022

Karen Lucile Ray, 66, died on October 5, 2022 at Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa after a year-long struggle with Cholangiocarcinoma—bile duct cancer.

Karen was a mother, a writer, an intellectual, a philanthropist, and an adventurer. The oldest of five, she had all the classic traits of a firstborn child and even when she lived far away, stayed in good touch with her family. She made friends all over the world and to anyone who invited her to visit she would say, “Be careful. I’ll actually take you up on that!” Karen visited all 7 continents and more countries than there was room in her passport for, even with the extra pages.

She grew up in Napa and graduated with a degree in Economics from University of California, Davis. She lived and made friends in Dallas, Manhattan Beach, Switzerland, and San Francisco. She returned to Napa fulltime in early 2020 and lived in the house that was her mother’s ballet school for 50 years.

A smart and curious person, Karen had a way with words and was a published author. She started her career with newspaper and magazine writing and later published six books: The T. F. Letters, To Cross a Line, Sleep Song, Come Home to Darkness, The Family Portrait, The Proposal. More recently she wrote about her life and adventures on her blog: The Bikini Wax Chronicles.

She was active with several charities including Room to Read, Charity: Water, and the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. She also had a special relationship with various communities around the world. In India she founded an initiative focused on eye health where she worked with locals to provide access to eye care, eye surgeries and glasses. Karen was always finding ways to help others, often without being asked, including a recent effort to make and provide hand sanitizer to San Francisco’s homeless population during COVID and provide food to Napa’s homeless.

Family, and especially her daughters, were her priority. She leaves her daughters: Jessamyn Katz, 39, President of Heyman Associates and Ariel Katz, 36, Professor at Skyline College. Her mother, Shirley Ray, and sister, Alicia Ray, also succumbed to cancer a few years ago. Karen’s father, Charles Ray, 88, lives in Napa. Her siblings are Danny Ray, of Linden, Michigan, Sabrina Newsome of Roseville, California and David Ray, also of Roseville, California.

A memorial service for Karen Ray will be held November 12, 2022 at 11:30am at Napa Methodist Church, 625 Randolph Street Napa, CA. Reception to follow at Angele Restaurant & Bar, 540 Main Street Napa, CA at 1pm.