Karen Elaine Holcomb passed away peacefully in Melbourne, FL on Feb 27, 2023. Karen was born on December 19, 1945, in Romulus, New York to the late Alvia Theodore Hilliard and Shirley Reba Henderson Hilliard. She is preceded in death by her parents.
As first a military child to a Navy corpsman and a military spouse for over 20 years, Karen traveled the world, living and visiting many overseas and stateside locations, settling in St. Mary’s County in 1975. The majority of her 33 civil servant career was at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, working her way from clerk-typist at the US Navy Test Pilot School to being the first female supervisor at the Information Management Division. Karen culminated her career at the highest level as a member of the Senior Executive Service leading NAVAIR’s Corporate Operations Department. She was a founder, executive director, and a longtime supporter of Leadership Southern Maryland. She was an active member of the Patuxent Presbyterian Church, including longterm service in the Stephen Ministries. Karen was also involved with the Rotary Club, Democratic National Committee and many other community service organizations.
Karen’s education culminated in an Executive Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland. Karen was a servant leader and loved everyone she came in contact with; she never met a stranger. She was dearly loved by those who knew her and will never be forgotten by so many that had the honor of calling her family, friend, coach, mentor, and cheerleader.
Her peace came from enjoying God’s creations across the world, including the Finger Lakes of New York and Outer Banks of North Carolina as two of her favorites. She shared those moments with her extended family and friends for many years. Her favorite song was “High Hopes” and she was an avid reader, with A Town Like Alice being her all time favorite book.
Karen is survived by her husband of 28 years Jackie “Jack” Lee Holcomb, her beloved daughter Janice Elaine Tyson Zilch (Douglas “Pete”), her grandsons Aidan John and Zachary Wayne, all of whom reside in the Melbourne, Florida area; her brothers Charles Hilliard (Jane) and Leslie Hilliard (Linda) and her two nephews Daniel and Ben.
A private Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. To honor Karen’s brave fight with Alzheimer’s, please send condolences to the family and make donations by visiting the Alzheimer’s Association tribute page at http://act.alz.org/goto/Karen_Holcomb