Karen Sanders Molyneaux Hessney, 56, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and educator, of 411 East State Street, Olean, N.Y., died Tuesday, March 18, 2014, at her home after a long courageous battle with breast cancer. At her passing, she was surrounded by beloved family and friends.
She was born Oct. 25, 1957 in Kane, daughter of the late Russell and Betsy Klawuhn Sanders. She grew up in Lanz Corners (Toby Springs) and graduated from Smethport High School in 1975. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in speech and audiology from Clarion University.
A resident of Olean since 1995, Karen worked as a speech pathologist in the Olean Schools from 1992-2007. While employed in Olean, she became active in the Olean Teachers Association, serving as president from 2002-2007. She was well known in this area for her intelligent, diligent and passionate representation of her members. In April 2007, she left teaching to become a Labor Relations Specialist for New York State United Teachers. As an employee of NYSUT, she became renowned for her skills in representing her bargaining units and especially for her acumen at successfully negotiating personnel difficulties. She worked tirelessly and very effectively for her members. She will long be remembered for her effectiveness, diligence and compassion in her approach to her professions.
Karen also gained acclaim as a cheerleader on the high school and college levels and as a cheerleading coach at Olean High School (1996-1999) and St. Bonaventure University (1999-2002). She was recognized in the area for her teams’ acrobatics and daring mounts.
Karen leaves behind four children: Tiffany (Pat) Morgan of Olean; Dustin (Jamie) Molyneaux of Baton Rouge, La.; Joseph (Rebecca Green) Hessney of Portland, Ore.; and Jeffery Hessney of Praia, Cape Verde. She also leaves behind six grandchildren: Parker, Connor and Emma Morgan, Carter and Silas Molyneaux, and John Hessney-Green. Her love and generosity toward her grandchildren were unsurpassed. Karen loved her job, but she loved her grandchildren even more, visiting them and caring for them whenever possible and showering them with gifts for Christmas, birthdays and just for the joy of spoiling them.
Besides her children and grandchildren, Karen is survived by her husband, Paul, of Olean; her niece, Misty Dawn Sanders and grand nieces and nephews Kiersten, Autumn and Russie of Toby Springs; a brother, Scott Sanders of Toby Springs; nephew Steve Sanders of Toby Springs; and several cousins and special friends: Jeff Keppel (“brother”); Fred Reich (“the Godfather”); and Wendy Ohnmeiss (“sister”) and Anna Geronimo (“the Boss”). She also leaves behind many other dear friends too numerous to mention. Her passing creates a great void in all of our lives. In addition to her parents, she was predeceased by a brother, Russell Sanders.
Friends will be received Friday, March 21 at the Guenther Funeral Home, Inc. 1303 E. State St. Olean from 4-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 22 at 11 a.m. in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church with the Rev. Kim Rossi, Pastor officiating. Burial will be in Mt. View Cemetery, Olean. Following the service, all are invited to a luncheon at Good Times of Olean, 800 R East State St., Olean. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to American Cancer Society for Triple Negative Breast Cancer Research 6725 Lyons St, East Syracuse, N.Y. 13057 or to the Hope Lodge of Cleveland, 11432 Mayfield Rd., Cleveland, Ohio 44106.