“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get”
Karen Leigh Monroe was a self-proclaimed ‘Chocoholic’ ever since her birth on March 4th, 1958. She was born to a wonderful mother Sally Anne Schroll and amazing father Don William Bucholtz (deceased). She grew up in the small town of Pierson, Michigan and attended Tri-County Schools with her siblings Lynnette Bucholtz, Don Bucholtz, Rick Bucholtz, Kelly Beeney, and Jamie Bucholtz.
She went on to college at GVSU to study teaching to follow in her mother’s footsteps. After teaching for a bit, and working in a few blue-collar jobs, she had made some amazing friends who had been an important part of her life. However, Karen’s life wasn’t even close to being over. In fact, it was just about to sweeten up.
Karen’s life was just like a box of chocolates. She didn’t know she would eventually meet her best friend Wayne Randall Monroe through a work friend. Wayne later decided to ask her to marry him on the deck of a cruise boat. Karen wanted to take one bag on the vacation but Wayne insisted on taking separate bags so he could keep the ring hidden which caused a small fight. Nevertheless, they had a great time on their vacation. On the last night, she insisted on packing their bags for disembarking the next morning despite Wayne’s wanting to go up on deck to catch the sunset. By the time they made it up on deck the sun was long gone. He asked her anyway and she even asked him if he was absolutely sure he wanted to marry her. He was absolutely sure and they married on July 10, 1982 .
Of course, married life is also like a box of chocolates and has its good chocolates and not so yummy chocolates. A few good chocolates came about by the names of Jessica Anne Monroe and Trevor William Monroe. What a whirlwind her two little bon-bons would take her on! She loved every sweet moment she had with them and was an amazing mother to both of them. She added a bit more sugar to her life with her love of animals and the many pets and animals she had throughout her life were considered her little sugar cubes!
However, her life wasn’t even close to being done! While her children were still in high school and middle school she decided to sweeten the pot once again and head back to college to further her life and studies. She ended up achieving her MBA focusing on accounting from Davenport University with full honors. Everything Karen did in life was definitely not just done halfway. She even spent some time in London, Paris and Barcelona with the honors program!
She started her work with Dwelling Place of Grand Rapids as an accountant. Karen was altruistic and loved working with her co-workers. Her son, Trevor, was inspired into following her into working for Dwelling Place because he also wanted to help people.
By this point, life was like melted chocolate, her children were old enough to be able to join her and her husband Wayne on travels of the world including a memorable trip to Ireland, a cruise in the Caribbean, trips to Chicago, Niagara Falls and to Beaver Island to visit her brother Rick. She even ran in a 5K race on Mackinac Island just because she wanted to do it! She became ordained so she could officiate her sister’s wedding (Lynnette Bucholtz). Doing so also inspired her daughter Jessica to follow in her footsteps.
Karen was an inspiration to everyone around her and the people who knew her know she didn’t have a single mean bone in her body.
Things were going smooth like honey until Karen made it to her final obstacle in life. Pancreatic Cancer created a sour gummy dam in her river of smooth chocolate. Karen reached the last chocolate in her box of chocolates on October 29th at home surrounded by her family and friends.
A Celebration of Karen's Life will be held in the near future. Please contact Jessica for details on the event. The family of Karen Leigh Monroe suggests memorial donations to the Cancer Society or to the Humane Society. Cards and condolences may be sent to the family in care of Verdun Family Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 303 S. Bridge Street, Belding, Michigan 48809.
Live your box of chocolates to the fullest because you truly never know when the last chocolate will be gone.