Karen Lee

Karen Lee, 62, passed away peacefully on April 18, 2013, in Santa Barbara, Calif., where she lived for the past 44 years.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she was the daughter of Kenneth H. Kuett and Elinore Norma Kuett (both deceased). She is survived by her Aunt June Marie Cameron (Kuett); Uncle Lachlan Cameron; cousins Carol Lynn Glassman (Cameron) and Carrie Keating; and second cousin Cameron Michael Kruger.

She attended Scotch Plains Fanwood High, where she made lifelong friends. “The Girls” reunions were something she looked forward to approximately every two years.

Karen moved to Santa Barbara in the summer of 1969. She worked in real estate development and became successful as an interior designer, owning her own business, Focal Point Interiors. She loved life, celebrating it often with friends.

Karen Lee, during her younger years.

Karen was very fond of traveling. Perhaps her most adventurous trip was to Africa with John Lee, to whom she was married for 23 years in Santa Barbara. Her frequent visits to tropical locales told of her love of sun and sand. Karen made friends wherever she went.

Most importantly, she was passionate about animals, especially cats. She was a docent for the Santa Barbara Zoo, where she volunteered many hours for many years, including working on the annual fundraiser, the Zoofari Ball — and she always had feline pets in her home.

Karen also spent many hours volunteering with New Directions, a travel group for people with developmental disabilities; PAX, a nonprofit with which she helped place foreign students in Santa Barbara; the Special Olympics; and Adaptive Riding.

She will be missed by countless friends. The new Snow Leopard Plaza at the Santa Barbara Zoo will be dedicated to Karen at 9 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, followed by a celebration of her life. Please kindly RSVP to maggie.davis@cox.net.