Karen McKenney (Burke) Ratcliff, born Karen Stiles McKenney, passed away Sept. 6, 2011, after a brief stay in the Hospice Unit at Waldo County General Hospital. Karen was born Dec. 1, 1942, in Machias.

She traveled extensively as a child as her father was in the military. She graduated proudly from Rockland District High School in 1960 and enjoyed attending her 50th high school reunion last year. Karen graduated from Norwich University in 1992 with a liberal arts degree. Going back to college and finishing her degree was a great source of pride to her as it was one of her life goals.

A lover of fine arts and literature, Karen was especially fond of the impressionists, Bizet’s Carmen and the works of Mozart. Of equal if not greater importance to her, Karen was a huge Red Sox fan. She had an encyclopedic knowledge of Red Sox trivia and celebrated Opening Day like most people celebrate the Fourth of July.

Karen is survived by her four children, Peter Ratcliff Burke of Bangor, Hannah Nadine Burke of Lincolnville, Kathleen Faith Butler and her husband, Charles, and their children, Ethan and Abigail of Appleton, and Patrick John Burke of Appleton; and a brother, Reed McKenney and his family of Owls Head.

The family of Karen Ratcliff would like to thank the nurses and staff in the Hospice Unit at Waldo County General Hospital. The comfort and care received there was second to none.

Books and learning were a great passion of Karen’s. During much of the 1980s, Karen was the Appleton Village School volunteer librarian. She spent countless hours working to increase the offering of books available to students. She had a great gift of being able to match children with books that they would enjoy in an effort to foster a love of reading. In memory of this, Karen’s family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Appleton Village School Library. Donations may be sent to Kathleen F. Butler, 2878 Appleton Ridge Road, Appleton, ME 04862. Checks should be made out to the Appleton Village School Activity Account.

Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of Karen’s life Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Appleton Historical Society Meeting House located at 2875 Sennebec Road in Appleton. Arrangements are with Crabiel-Riposta Funeral Home, Belfast. Online condolences may be offered at ripostafh.com.