Posted by Lisa Bishop


We are all deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Dear Rotarian, PDG Karen Oakes on October 9, 2021. We offer our most Sincere Sympathy to her devoted loving partner, Wolfgang Lindemann, and extended family and close friends. If you did not meet Karen personally, you most certainly benefited from her selfless dedication to many avenues of service within our D7090, and beyond.  She had a quiet, yet direct manner that possessed wise counsel and compassion. We always knew we could “Ask Karen” and she would have the answer or support you to get the right answer. She inspired countless Rotarians and members of the community. 
Those who knew her personally, cherish the memories and hold many stories of her positive impact on them as Rotarians.
Karen was invited to join The “Small but Mighty”, Rotary Club of Delhi in 1995. Her vocational business skills in banking, and passion for Service opened many opportunities for her. She served in a multiple clubs roles as well as Club President (1999-2001). She naturally progressed to District roles as Assistant Governor Area 1, District Permanent Fund (2004-08), Rotary Leadership Institute Facilitator, District Governor (2010-11), the 2nd Women to serve as DG in 7090. Her RI Theme was  “Bridging Continents, Building Communities”. She Chaired the District Foundation Committee (2012-17), and multiple committees for District Conferences, District Training, including, District/Club Assembly Training and President Elect Training (PETS) to name a few. Karen was leading our district in legal Incorporation and Manual of Policy review, as well as Chairing our new Governance Committee. She was our District Council on Legislation Representative. Her passion for The Rotary Foundation (TRF) took her to many Zone 28/32 Roles,  End Polio Coordinator Zone 28E, Director TRF Canada, then Endowment/Major Gift Advisor, and Zone Treasurer, as well as countless fundraisers, training & planning roles.  
She and Wolf were involved in an International Service project to the Philippines with PDG John Van Laar & wife Cora.  She often said this experience was life changing and drove her commitment to TRF, especially International Grants.
Karen is a Multiple Paul Harris Fellow, was also honoured with The Rotary Foundation Citation for Meritorious Service (2007), and D7090 Outstanding Service (2021). She and her partner Wolf are Major Donors and Bequest Society Members. 
We are planning a Virtual Celebration of Life later in November to allow those who were unable to travel to the funeral home for visitation, to join in the tribute and share memories. Many messages of condolence have been received from her Zone colleagues, RI staff and those she inspired nationally and internationally.
Karen’s dedication to serve was absolutely remarkable. We all miss her, and thank her for her friendship and “Service Above Self”.