Karen McNelis

Published 8:27 pm Monday, April 8, 2024

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Nov. 14, 1942-April 5, 2024

Karen Kathleen McNelis, a cherished wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and sister, passed away peacefully on April 5, 2024, in Niles, Michigan, at the age of 81. She was born on Nov. 14, 1942, in Mishawaka, Indiana, to the late Andrew and Frances (Hosmer) Dutoi.
Graduating from Niles High School, Karen embraced a life of service and dedication. For 30 years, she was a valued employee of the United States Postal Service, where her diligence and friendly demeanor became her hallmark. Karen’s work ethic and commitment to her community were mirrored in her involvement with the Jacob’s Sheep Association, where she shared her passion for her beloved animals.
After high school Karen married David Brudi. They were married for fifteen years and had three children. Karen’s heart was always at home, which she filled with love and laughter alongside her devoted husband of 44 years, John R. McNelis. Together, they had a beautiful blended family, including their children Gina Brudi, John (Tamra) Brudi, Mary (Jeff) Hill, Sean (Tanya) McNelis, Becky (Brian) Lebeck, and Aaron (Glenda) McNelis. Her legacy further blossomed with the joy of her 12 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren, who will cherish memories of her boundless love and support. She is survived by her loving brother Dennis Dutoi, who will remember Karen as a guiding light in the family.
Artistic and creative, Karen had an eye for beauty, which she expressed through her painting, decorating, and gardening. She and John were also proud owners of an antique business, where Karen humorously referred to their home as a foster care for furniture pieces awaiting their new owners. Her artistry was a testament to her ability to see the potential and beauty in everything around her.
Travel was another passion for Karen and John, particularly trips to visit their children, who were spread across the country. These journeys were not only adventures but also a testament to the couple’s dedication to family and their joy in being together.
Karen’s love for animals was especially evident at the farm she and John maintained. Their miniature pony, KneeHigh, and their Jacob’s sheep were more than just animals. They were part of the family and a source of immense joy for Karen, even when KneeHigh made the front page of the local paper for getting loose.
Karen’s life was a lesson in love, a symphony of creativity, and a demonstration of the beauty that dedication to family can bring. Her memory will be treasured and kept alive through the stories told by her children, the laughter of her grandchildren, and the echoes of her influence that will continue to resonate in the lives of all who knew her.
Karen’s family will be hosting a memorial service later this summer.
Those wishing to make a memorial donation in Karen’s memory may do so to the Michael J. Fox Foundation or their local animal shelter.
Condolences, photos, and memories may be left for the family atĀ www.BrownFuneralHomeNiles.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Brown Funeral Home & Cremation Services, of Niles.