Karen Elizabeth Bull Haley passed away at her home in Lyme, Conn., on Feb. 3, 2021, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, at the age of 58.
She was born in Presque Isle, Maine, on Oct. 12, 1962. Her parents were Jasper Deane Bull and Priscilla Terry Bull.
Karen grew up in Old Town, Maine, and attended the local high school, where she developed a strong interest in art, music and theater and quickly became known for her talent as a pianist and vocalist. Karen had a lifelong love of animals, and initially planned to become a veterinarian, but after one year of veterinary studies at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, she decided that music was her true passion. She transferred to the main campus in Orono, Maine, where she majored in voice and piano. As an undergraduate, she was a member of The 20th Century Jazz Ensemble and University Singers, with whom she toured the UK and Europe. She was also a charter member of the popular music trio Ned and the Neighbors.
After graduating with a B.A. from the University of Maine in 1985, Karen taught music at Orono High School for a few years. She then moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where she earned a master’s degree in choral conducting on a full scholarship from Cleveland State University. She taught music in schools and privately, and worked as a vocalist and accompanist in Cleveland for several years.
Karen married Michael Haley in a beautiful ceremony at Orient Beach State Park on Sept. 25, 1999. Karen and Michael moved to Orient in March of 2003 and their son, Thomas, was born in October of that year.
Karen will be mostly remembered for her gift of music, which she shared with many. She had music in her soul. She was the organist/choir director for Orient Congregational Church, UCC, for 17 years, and was the piano accompanist for the North Fork Chorale and the Peconic Bay Masterworks Choir for many years. She was also the accompanist for many concerts at Greenport and Southold high schools and for Oysterponds School. She founded the a cappella group Lark, which performed several concerts for the North Fork community. Her performances at the annual Song Swap at Poquatuck Hall in Orient were always a highlight of the show.
Karen also worked for many years as the office manager at Oysterponds Historical Society.
Karen and her family moved to Lyme, Conn., in January of 2019. In addition to her music, she enjoyed theater, movies, reading, knitting, gardening, bird-watching and spending time with her family.
Karen is survived by her loving husband, Mike, and their beloved son, Thomas, of Lyme, Conn.; her mother, Priscilla Bull, of Orient, N.Y.; her brothers, Alan Bull of Newburyport, Mass., David Bull of Orient and Larry Bull and sister-in-law Bronwyn Roantree of New York, N.Y.; her nephews, Jasper, Felix and Henry of New York, N.Y.; and many aunts, uncles and cousins. She was predeceased by her father, Jasper Bull.
A celebration of Karen’s life will take place in Orient sometime in the spring or summer, when it is safe to gather in person. The family is being assisted by Horton-Mathie Funeral Home.
Those who wish may make donations in Karen’s memory to Orient Congregational Church, UCC; Oysterponds Historical Society; Oysterponds Community Association; or North Fork Animal Welfare League.
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