MS. HOLLAND'S SERVICE WILL BE BROADCASTED LIVE AT THE TIME OF THE SERVICE. THERE WILL BE A LINK NEXT TO THE SERVICE TO VIEW.
Karen Lynn Holland passed away peacefully, surrounded by her friends and family, and went to Heaven to be with her Lord and Savior at the age of 72 on April 18, 2023 in Mesquite, Texas.
Karen was born in Jonesboro, Arkansas on March 28, 1951. She attended Lake City High School, graduating in 1969. She was Valedictorian of her class and was voted Miss LCHS her senior year. During high school, Karen was selected as a Girl State Delegate for the American Legion and elected Miss FBLA of Arkansas at the state convention. She represented Arkansas at the National FBLA Convention in Dallas. She was President of the Federated FHA and the NEA District Student Librarians Association. She served as the State Secretary of FBLA and represented the State at the national convention in Washington D.C. She served as a Page for her Arkansas State Representative in Little Rock. Karen was the editor of her school newspaper and yearbook.
Karen attended Harding University, where she majored in History. She graduated in May 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and received a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in May 1974 from Harding University. Karen was active in student government throughout her college career and served as Vice President of the Student Association her senior year and Secretary her junior year. She was a member of the GATA social club and made many life-long friends. She also worked on the college newspaper and yearbook.
She is preceded in death by her loving parents, Wasson and Sue Locke Holland. Karen is survived by her beloved sister, Suzanne Waller and husband, Rodney of Arlington, Texas; nephew David Waller and wife Rebecca of Fort Worth, Texas and their children Hayley, Colton and Emma; niece Dr. Lynsay Brautnick and husband Derek of Bentonville, Arkansas with their daughter Laurel; niece Whitney Bielefeld and husband Dr. Kyle of Jenks Oklahoma with their children Paige and Locke. Karen is also survived by Dave and Sally Williams and their daughters, Lindsi and Kelsi, who were her next-door neighbors and close friends since August 1987 in two different locations.
Karen was a life-long member of the Church of Christ. The family was so appreciative of Zach Fisher and the La Prada Church of Christ, who served her communion on Sunday and who came to sing hymns with Karen just before her passing.
A beloved educator, and student favorite, Karen was a 40-year teacher at Sunnyvale ISD, having the distinction of being the Sunnyvale ISD employee who taught the most years for the district. During her time at SISD, she taught American History, Texas History, World Geography, Theatre Arts and World History. She sponsored the cheerleaders for six years and advised the yearbook staff. Karen also coached volleyball for eight years. Her 1987-88 girls' volleyball team won all 34 of their regular season games. Her teams were undefeated 1981-1987. SISD, at the time, only had 39 girls in the seventh and eighth grades. She also drove a bus route for over 22 years so that she could be with the students more. Karen made sure that each of her bus students were dropped off at their homes rather than a bus stop. Students remember singing "Love Potion Number Nine" as they made their journey home. Karen also taught at Dallas Christian School at the beginning of her career for six years.
Ms. Holland received the Sunnyvale Alumni Association's Legacy Award for 2021. "Karen Holland helped shape the person I am today," alumna Carmen James Elder (SJH '88) said. "She loved me at times I felt unlovable and showed tough love when I needed it. I wanted to be just like her. She is the best motivational speaker I have ever heard and she could get us so fired up about all the injustices in the world. She stood for all things RIGHT!" "Ms. Holland is not just everyone's favorite teacher; she is that mother figure who you never want to disappoint," Alumnus Travis Williams (SJH '85) said. "She has always been a true blessing in my life."
At SISD, Karen developed many friendships with teachers, students and parents of students. Several of these friends took care of her in her later years. The family wants to especially thank: Laura Jones, her long-time friend and fellow teacher, Carmen Elder, her former student and school principal, Gaylia Laird, whose children were dearly loved, Travis Williams, a former student and adopted son and Zach Fisher, a former student and church member.
SISD has flown each of their school flags at half-mast this week in memory of Ms. Holland. Her funeral service will be held in the Sunnyvale High School auditorium, 222 N. Collins Road, Sunnyvale, Texas 75182 on Sunday, April 23 at 3:00 p.m. Arrangements are being handled by New Hope Funeral Home in Sunnyvale. The services will be conducted by her former students. There will be a graveside service in Jonesboro, Arkansas on Monday, April 25th.
Karen was an avid sports fan and claimed the Arkansas Razorbacks (Woo Pig Sooie!) and the Dallas Cowboys as her favorite teams. Ronald Reagan was her favorite president, and she was a fan of Barbara Mandrell. She loved all things Mickey Mouse, claimed Brad Pitt as her true love, and adored her dogs, especially Wills.
Memorials may be made to the Karen Holland Scholarship Fund, Harding University, Searcy Arkansas or Dallas Dog RRR.org or any other Animal Rescue organization.