Copeland Funeral Service

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Karen Harris, 51, lost her 13-year battle with cancer at 7:15pm June 16th, 2020. Karen was surrounded by family and lifelong friends at her home here in Beaufort, South Carolina. Karen is survived by Husband of 25 years Bill Harris and her two daughters Kate, 22 and Grace, 17.

Born Karen Michelle Button in Wytheville, Virginia. Karen (nicknamed Missy) was raised predominantly by her Grandparents and later her Grandfather. Karen earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina and shortly after moved to the Lowcountry following childhood and lifelong friends while working in retail. While living in Beaufort, and then Hilton Head, Karen met and later married Bill Harris. She then took the name Karen Button Harris, celebrated 25 Wedding Anniversaries, and raised two beautiful girls, Katherine Drayton and Grace Ann. Karen was an amazing and strong woman and mother. Equal parts discipline and grace. It was easy to believe she felt that being a mother was her gift.

Karen was always a loyal friend and always a strong shoulder to many. These childhood, college, and adult friends became like family and were strong loving relationships until she passed. Karen always stood for the underdog. Perhaps why she so enjoyed her second career as a teacher’s assistant at Coosa Elementary as a pre-k and kindergarten aid. Karen loved the kids and would do or sacrifice anything for them. Until her last days, she believed and wanted to go back to be with them. Karen was a fighter. She did all possible and a bit more to not only fight her own cancer but to take an active part in anything to further the cause.

The two most remarkable traits Karen embodied were her tenacity and her amazing positive energy. Whatever the task Karen always would see it through. Whatever the challenge she would dive in. She would do this with a great positive attitude. She could run into a store for 1 item and talk to whoever she saw. Some she knew, some former students, and maybe just the person at the checkout counter or someone that looked a little down. This was another of her many gifts.

Bill, Kate, and Grace will go on but will never forget what Karen Harris meant to them, what she taught them, what she sacrificed for them, or who she was deep inside.

A memorial service for Karen will be held 11:00 a.m., Saturday, June 27, 2020 at The Baptist Church of Beaufort. Burial will be private.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested memorial donations be made to the family. A Go Fund Me page has been setup at

Online Condolences

  1. Amy Bowman says:

    Bill, our love, thoughts, and prayers are with you and the girls.
    Amy Bowman and Staff

  2. Auntie Gina says:

    Bill & Girls,
    Y’all know I could never express what MB meant to me and I am a friend. I simply cannot imagine how you feel having a much stronger bond. Just know she will be missed more than anything! Uncle Chips and I love you all!

  3. Megan Melinat says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you, Bill, and the girls during such a difficult time. Karen was indeed a positive force of nature and will be greatly missed. May you find peace and comfort in your memories.

  4. Wayne Freeman says:

    Nothing we can say or do renders us helpless in times like this. We have been brothers for a long time and this too will pass. I will be here for you as our lives move on together. May the peace which surpasses understanding be yours through Christ Jesus.

  5. Frances Oddo says:

    Bill, Kate and Grace,
    I am so sorry for your loss. Although I never met her family, I feel I know you from all the stories she told me during our many days together in the classroom. As a substitute I always looked forward to spending time in the Pre-K classroom with Karen. She was one of the warmest, loving and positive people I have ever met. I will always remember and miss her tremendously. My memories of her will keep her in my heart forever.

  6. Linda Callahan says:

    Karen was a beautiful person. She was part of our family for many years and we loved her very much. Prayers to Bill and his daughters.

  7. Jennifer Kemmann says:

    I met Karen through my four year old daughter, Daphne. Daphne met four year old Katie at Ms Darleen’s Story Time at the Beaufort County Library in 2002. My, quiet Daphne turned to me and said, “I want a playdate with her (Katie Harris). Excited that Daphne had met a friend, I introduced myself to Karen and we set up a playdate. Well, I made a friend too, that day and what a wonderful friend she was. We met in a time of my life when I really needed a friend. We had moved to Beaufort in the fall of 2001. So being new to the area and a stay-at-home mom, I was so thankful to have met Karen when I did. We shared a deep faith in God, a love of reading and libraries and sewing. I was sorry when she went back to work and her life got busier. My heart goes out to you; Bill, Katie and Grace. I know you know, we will see her again.

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