Karen Freel

December 22, 1942 - May 27, 2021

Karen Freel, 78, a resident of Cape Coral, formerly from Marathon, FL and Chicago, IL, passed away Thursday, May 27, 2021.  She was born December 22, 1942 in Saginaw, MI to John and Katherine O’Brien, now deceased. 

Karen is of the Catholic Faith.  She was a member of the Royal Palm Yacht Club in Ft. Myers.  She graduated from Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington, DC before attending Barat College in Lake Forest, IL, receiving a BA in economics in 1964.  After working for Dow Chemical Co in Midland, MI, she moved to Chicago where she was involved in real estate and met her future husband.  They shared a love of boating for nearly 30 years living on their sailboat, later cruising on their trawler and finally fishing from their whaler.  In her earlier years, Karen was an avid snow skier.

Karen fought a valiant battle against PAD to which she finally succumbed May 27.   The Family thanks everyone at Hope Hospice for their TLC towards Karen in her final days. 

She is survived by her two sisters, Elizabeth Dee Bailey of W. Hartford, CT and Patricia O’Brien of San Francisco, CA; two stepchildren, Steve Freel of Baltimore, MD and Beth Schultz of Phenix, AZ; two nephews, John Bailey of W. Hartford, CT and Brian Bailey (Jessica) of Rowayton, CT; two step grandchildren as well as six grand nephews. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Jerry H. Freel in 2016. 

A Memorial Mass will be held at 12:00 noon on Saturday, June 19. 2021 at St. John XXIII Catholic Church, 13060 Palomino Lane, Ft. Myers, FL 33912.

Memorial contributions in memory of Karen Freel may be made to Hope Hospice, 9470 Healthpark Cir, Ft. Myers, FL 33908 or Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, 1524 35th St NW, Washington, DC 20007.  

Friends are invited to send condolences via the on-line guest book which can be found at www.MullinsMemorial.com.

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Cape Coral, is entrusted with final care.


  1. Audrey Ramsay Jun 2, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    May the joys you knew and all the times you shared with Karen help comfort you at this sad time, Dee and Patricia

    I will treasure the good times Karen and I shared too.

    Audrey Ramsay (RPYC)

  2. nancy stephenson Jun 4, 2021 at 3:24 pm

    I have many wonderful memories of growing up with Karen: cruising in our matching 57 Ford Fairlane convertibles, summers at the pool in Saginaw, sailing and water skiing at Tawas, skiing in Aspen, and many more. I will miss you for sure!

  3. Marcia Thias Jun 4, 2021 at 9:12 pm

    It is with a sad heart that I send my condolences to Karen’s two sisters. Karen and I had a unique friendship. She will be so missed.

  4. Katharine Higgins Jun 15, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Karen excelled in three area: sailing, finance, and dress. We learned to sail on the Great Lakes during many summers in Michigan. She was a fine skipper. She and Jerry lived on their sailboat for many years, enjoying ocean adventures. In finance, her economics background served her well. We frequently discussed investments. Her perspective was broad and her advice reliable. Finally, in dress she had exquisite taste and intuitively knew exactly what was the right look for her – subtle, attractive, and flattering.

  5. Jane Raymond Jun 16, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    So sorry for the loss of your sister, Patricia and Dee. I enjoyed times with Karen at Tawas, skiing, and trips many years after graduation. We also had good times in Saginaw as teenagers also. She will be missed. Jane

  6. Anne Withers Jun 18, 2021 at 1:18 am

    Will always remember the summers at Tawas, sailing, swimming,
    playing tennis, sunning. Beach club dances, yacht club parties during regattas. Karen was an excellent sailor, whether as crew or skipper. It was always interesting to see each summer what music Karen brought home from college- so helpful to a cousin four years younger wanting to be ahead of the game..
    She spent so much of her time on the water; I am glad to think she lived her best life..

  7. Rich & Mary Lou Mullins Jun 18, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    So sorry to hear of Karen’s passing. She and Jerry lived across the street from us, and we were all members of the RPYC. Worked with Karen on some very nice RPYC Fashion Shows. She thought of everything to make it fun, enjoyable and successful for all. I sure came away with some beautiful outfits from one of her favorite stores, Giuditta’s, that Karen suggested. Enjoyed our neighborhood get-togethers with her and Jerry too. We were at Midland/Dow a few years after and also kept our sailboat at Tawas. Small world. It was a privilege to know Karen.

Leave a Comment