Winchester Press – obit – Karen Westh Gorrell

Karen Westh Gorrell

Karen Westh Gorrell (nee Sondergaard) of Morrisburg,formerly of Denmark, passed away peacefully at the Ottawa GeneralHospital on Sat., May 19, 2007. She was 67. Her illness was veryshort; the cancer spread quite rapidly.
She was born in Holstebro, Denmark on March 12, 1940 to Ejnarand Mille Sondergaard. She was the beloved wife of the late GeorgeWilliam J. H. Gorrell Q.C. She was the loving partner and companionof John Miller. She was the dear step-mother of Phyllis (Terry)Hidichuck of Manitoba, George (Jennifer) of Oxford Mills, Frederick(Annie) of Washington, D.C., and Edward (Karen) of Toronto. Sheis also survived by her sister Johanne (Christian) Nohr, and brothersNeils (Gudrun), and Ove (Karen Marie), all of Denmark.
Karen arrived in Morrisburg in September 1968, and was exceptionallyactive in the community. Widowed by the late G. William Gorrell,Q.C., her Lakeshore Drive home became a beehive of activity forlocal organizations and volunteer work. She became a real estatebroker and acquired Thom Realty Limited in the mid 1980s. Shesold many homes over the years, and assisted people in purchasinghouses, businesses, farms, and rural properties. Dedicated tothe real estate profession, she was also past president of theSt. Lawrence-Rideau Valley Real Estate Brokers Association.
She was very active in the local chapters of the Canadian CancerSociety, as well as the Heart and Stroke Foundation, holding avariety of positions. Dedicated to promoting the area, she alsofound time to serve on the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. Shewas always active in the Morrisburg and District Chamber of Commerceand Morrisburg Business Improvement Association, and served aspresident of both organizations. She was a Past Worthy Matronof the Morrisburg chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, andvisited chapters throughout Ontario. Likewise, she thoroughlyenjoyed rising to the position of Past Noble Grand of St. LawrenceRebekah Lodge, where duties took her throughout the Eastern District.
Karen keenly promoted the advancement and equal opportunitiesfor women in Eastern Ontario. She was the first elected womanto the Council of Morrisburg and initiated the development andrevitalization of the waterfront. She was honoured to be the firstwoman president of the Morrisburg and District Canadian Club,which was previously an all-male organization.
She was also a significant force in the political landscape ofOntario. Not only was she active in all provincial and federalcampaigns, but she was also on the provincial executive of theProgressive Conservative Party of Ontario, and served with distinctionas president of the Ontario Women’s Progressive Conservative Association.
She met John Miller and the two of them enjoyed a close and specialrelationship for over 20 years. They enjoyed working togetherin the real estate business, and maintaining their century home.They travelled throughout the world, and visited and cared forthe sick and needy. Together, they enjoyed taking part in alllocal functions and activities, especially dancing.
Karen was a true people person, and was hostess to many a memorableparty at her waterfront home. She had a special relationship withall children who enjoyed playing on her lawn, and swimming duringthose hot summer days down at her dock.
She always kept in close contact with her family. Her mother Millewas a regular visitor every summer at her home in Morrisburg.Karen in turn travelled to Denmark annually to see her mother,brothers, sister, and her many nieces and nephews.
She will be dearly missed but always fondly remembered as a truelady who touched the hearts of many people, both young and oldalike.
Friends and family were received at St. James Anglican Churchin Morrisburg for a celebration of Karen’s life on Fri., May 25,2007 with Rev. Craig Bowers officiating. Interment followed atMount Pleasant Cemetery. The pallbearers were Dick Testerink,Peter Remillard, Dan Weagant, Sid Thew, Marianne Grenkie, andGordon Lane.
Donations to St. James Anglican Church, Winchester District MemorialHospital, or the Canadian Cancer Society in memory of Karen willbe gratefully acknowledged.
The arrangements were entrusted to the Parker Funeral Home inMorrisburg.
Condolences and donations may be made at