Eldest daughter of Richard and Lenor Burson, most recently of Bloomfield Hills, formerly of Wyandotte, MI, Madison, WI, Grosse Pointe Park, MI, Rochester Hills, MI, and Fort Myers, FL, died Friday, March 15, 2024. 

Karen had an insatiable love for stories. Whenever she encountered a tale that made her laugh, she'd request it from you repeatedly, amplifying her laughter with each retelling. If you were unavailable to oblige, she'd happily steal your story as her own performance piece. If you haven't heard the "madras" story, or the one about the 14-point buck, please don't hesitate to inquire.

Her passions were as big as her spirit. Karen fancied herself the Julia Child of the Midwest, whipping up feasts fit for an army no matter the number gathered around the table. Her affinity for all things extra extended beyond her cooking, from her ubiquitous super-sized iced tea jug to her cherished dogs. Starting with reasonably-sized golden retrievers and labradors, Karen soon graduated to colossal Newfoundlands and eventually to English Mastiffs—the gentle giants of the dog world.

Karen's love for her husband, LeRoy, was her biggest gift to herself and she missed him terribly and struggled after his passing in 2004. Their shared world adventures included years in Heidelberg, Germany, where LeRoy served as an Army Captain before being deployed to Vietnam. Later, Karen and LeRoy co-managed one of the hottest tailgates at the University of Michigan stadium for more than 25 years, set up just outside the player entrance–where her cook-for-an-army instincts came in very handy. Married 40 years, theirs was a shared life filled with good friends and grand fun.

In the late '70s and early '80s, Karen dedicated herself to Detroit Job Corps, guiding young students who had dropped out of high school through GED programs that helped them find their way into the workforce. The joy and fulfillment she derived from that work and the bonds she formed with students and fellow teachers were immeasurable. 

During the last 6 or 7 years of her life, Karen grappled with the harsh, unrelenting realities of dementia and Alzheimer's. Still, even in her limited state, she radiated warmth and happiness, eliciting smiles, laughter, and love from the compassionate staff at Sunrise Bloomfield Hills.

It was during these last challenging years that her true essence perhaps shone brightest. Separated from the stresses and burdens of life, her big personality roamed naturally, somehow finding its way to the surface through the fog of her disease. Mr. Bluebird was always on her shoulder. 

Karen is survived by her children, Rich (Karen Campbell), Craig, and Megan Allain, as well as six grandchildren she adored and spoke about with such pride: Aidan, Campbell, Alex, Nora, Owen, and Cameron. Her sisters, Susan Siler and Mary Kroneman will carry her memory in their hearts, as will her nieces, nephews, friends, and friend’s children.

The family plans a celebration gathering in early summer, ideally basking in the warm sun that Karen loved so much. In the meantime, for those who wish to honor her memory, donations can be made to the Alzheimer's Association ( or to the organization where Karen volunteered her time and leadership support, Reproductive Freedom for All (

You may share a memory of Karen or leave a message for her family using the form below. Please allow up to 24 hours for us to review and post your message. 


#3 Karen Jamieson 2024-03-23 18:57
Bill and I have such wonderful memories of our times with Karen and Leroy. Karen’s laugh was so infectious, you couldn’t help laughing along with her. I can just envision Karen and Leroy floating on the dance floor, making it look so fluid and effortless. They are dearly missed.
#2 Susan OMeara 2024-03-22 08:05
Soup, salad and charades. Nights of playing Trivia Pursuit. Breaking out into random songs. Her drinking scotch with my parents and solving the world's problems through lively debates. These are the memories of my childhood. She was an influential part of my life and helped shape me into the person I am today. She was a strong minded woman who had the courage to say the hard truths to me when I was a horrible teenager. She was also the kindest and most encouraging woman when I started back on the right path.
Karen was my mom's best friend and I was blessed to witness a beautiful strong relationship between two women who lifted each other up. She had all the crazy ideas and my mom went along with most of them. From hosting elaborate fundraiser's to small Christmas Party's families learning to break the cycle of abuse. Her passion taught me compassion . She was the definition of "be the change you want to see in the world" and I am a better person for knowing her.
#1 Pat EUSEARY 2024-03-21 15:03
Karen Fahle was the best!
Her students at Job Corps absolutely loved her.The staff loved her she will be missed

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