1932 – 2010


Karen served our communities as an MLA, teacher, and dedicated community volunteer. She died peacefully in her home Nov. 15 as result of an aggressive cancer, with her three children and beloved dog Mickey at her side.


We will celebrate her life Dec. 4, 1 p.m., at Mark Isfeld School (1551 Lerwick Road, Courtenay).


Karen was first elected as an NDP MLA in 1972, and was re-elected three more times until 1986. As a result of riding boundary changes, over the course of her political career she served constituents from Nanoose Bay to the northern tip of Vancouver Island.


Karen (nee Petersen) was born in 1932 in a Danish-speaking community in Wayne, Alberta. Her family moved to Comox Valley in the early 40s, and she lived here ever since. In 1959 Karen married fellow teacher Peter Sanford. In 1968 Karen and Pete built their family home near Kitty Coleman park, where they lived for the rest of her lives. Pete died in 2006.


Karen battled both heart disease and breast cancer since the early 1980s, but this fall she was diagnosed with untreatable sarcoma.


She is survived by her children Glen, Donna  and Tom, their spouses (respectively) Jeanette Reinhardt, Dean Fortin and Vanessa Ek, grandchildren Sophie, Marcus and Jing Ru, cat Little Guy and dog Mickey.

Our family wish to express our heartfelt thanks to mom’s many doctors and health care providers over the years, and the incredible home care and home support workers who made it possible for Karen to die with comfort and dignity in her own home.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Comox Valley Hospice Society or the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

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