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2    WHEREAS, The members of the Illinois Senate are saddened
3to learn of the death of Karen Antoinette Pepper of Chicago,
4who passed away on August 15, 2023 at the age of 74; and
5    WHEREAS, Karen Pepper was born to Doris Marie (Dixon)
6Austin and Theodore Roosevelt Austin in Chicago on March 11,
71949; she was raised by her paternal grandmother, Luellen "Big
8Mama" Dorch Adams, and her step-grandfather, James "Pa-Pa"
9Adams; she graduated from Farragut High School in 1966, and
10she spoke highly of her classmates and participated in reunion
11events for many years thereafter; and
12    WHEREAS, Karen Pepper married William R. Pepper in 1969;
13once the union ended, they successfully co-parented four
14children who all built successful professional and personal
15lives for themselves; and
16    WHEREAS, Karen Pepper completed her postsecondary
17schooling at Rosary College and the University of Illinois
18Chicago School of Nursing; after developing a passion for
19interior design, she earned a certificate in interior design
20from Malcolm X College; and
21    WHEREAS, Karen Pepper's creative genius was on display



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1throughout Chicagoland; she held interior decorating roles at
2Montgomery Wards and Sears before ultimately retiring from
3Plunkett Furniture; she was also a talented seamstress, and
4her portfolio included prom dresses, wedding gowns, and choir
5robes; and
6    WHEREAS, Karen Pepper adored her family and friends,
7sending them birthday group texts filled with pictures and
8emojis; she was also available and willing to provide advice
9and prayer for anyone in need, and this goodwill resulted in
10multiple nicknames, including "Aunt Karen", "Mina", and
11"Special K"; and
12    WHEREAS, Karen Pepper was a member of multiple faith
13communities throughout her lifetime; she raised her four
14children in the Holy Family Catholic Church on Chicago's near
15West Side, where she was a member of the choir and served as
16president of the Holy Family Parish Council; she found a
17second spiritual home at the Apostolic Church of God on
18Chicago's South Side, where she continued singing as a choir
19member and taught Sunday school; and
20    WHEREAS, Karen Pepper was known to prefer her food served
21"piping hot"; she also enjoyed gardening and games, pursuing
22the latter to keep her mind sharp; and



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1    WHEREAS, Karen Pepper was preceded in death by her
2parents; her siblings, Theodore "Butch" Austin and Diana
3Schmakel; and her godmother, Maryann Jones; and
4    WHEREAS, At the time of her passing, Karen Pepper was
5survived by her children, Desiree (Kenneth) Pepper-Venzant,
6DeShona (Alexander) Robertson, Donovan (Heidi) Pepper, and
7Devin (Alicia) Pepper; her grandchildren, Maimuna, Tacuma,
8Dakota, Dillon, William, Madilyn (Madi), and Lukas (Luke); her
9stepsister, Dr. Loretta Brunious; her uncle, William "Bill"
10(Florence) Dixon; her cousin, Deborah L. Dixon; her
11sister-in-law, Dr. Judith Austin; and countless nieces,
12nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews; therefore, be it
14ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we mourn the passing of
15Karen Antoinette Pepper and extend our sincere condolences to
16her family, friends, and all who knew and loved her; and be it
18    RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be
19presented to the family of Karen Pepper as an expression of our
20deepest sympathy.