5 September 1946 to 21 April 2016
Photo from left to right: Toshi Jolliffe, Kido Eri and her daughter, Alison Parkes, Karin Gausman and Eileen Harrison at 2010 LLL European Management Symposium in Frankfurt, Germany.
With great sadness we announce the death of Karin Gausman in April 2016. Alison Parkes and Amy Shaw recall their fond memories of Karin.
A tribute from Alison Parkes
Karin Gausman and I were Directors of the LLLI Leader Accreditation Department (LAD) for five years from 2005 to 2010. Karin’s youthful, sunny outlook on life made her death in April this year (as she approached 70) come as a huge shock. She had quietly and stoically borne cancer and its treatment since 2011. Yet she continued to correspond with friends and colleagues until a short time before she died.
Karin moved around a great deal as a child. Her father’s work took the family from place to place, including an extended period in Germany. As an adult, Karin continued to move around, living in Canada as well as several different US states. For a time she dreamed of becoming a professional dancer; instead, she discovered her true vocation as a mother and then LLL Leader. Her husband Jim describes how she promoted the LLL philosophy of loving guidance both in her personal life and as a mentor in her LAD work. He wrote: “Her ability to turn difficult problems into positive solutions was a natural gift. Her boundless love was always available to anyone who wished to receive it.”
When I first met Karin, I remember being terribly impressed that she was working with about 90 Leader Applicants at the same time in different parts of the world. I still don’t quite know how she did it, except that she was extremely well-organized, had an excellent memory and an eye for detail, and she was totally dedicated to the LAD. She accredited more than 400 Leaders around the world. Her legacy includes a range of resources for application work, as well as the many LAD representatives she inspired and mentored. When faced with drafting a response to a challenging question, Karin’s approach was to ask, “Is it necessary? Is it truthful? Is it kind?”—surely, a guide to us all for a harmonious, respectful and fulfilling life.
Karin leaves behind her husband Jim, three children and four grandchildren. After Karin’s death, Jim shared: “I personally am thankful for the great joy that LLL brought to her life. Watching her work tirelessly to help others is one of the things that gives me strength now.”
Karin, we can’t thank you enough for all you did for La Leche League. We will miss you.
Alison Parkes, Colchester, England
A tribute from Amy Shaw
Karin and I first met as we prepared to present sessions at the International Mastery Symposium close to 20 years ago. Our paths continued to cross when we were both appointed as Associate Directors of Leader Accreditation for the respective geographical Divisions we connected to. Our constant communications regarding Leader accreditation led us to form a very special friendship.
Karin was soft-spoken, had a very kind heart, and incredible warmth. She also had strong convictions, keen insight, and a heightened attention to detail. Her commitment to La Leche League and Leader accreditation was unparalleled. I have never known anyone to be able to work with such an abundance of Leader Applicants and supporting Leaders, while fulfilling administrative responsibilities. She never missed a beat.
Karin and I would share many stories of our families, our lives outside of La Leche League, and of course, her battle with breast cancer. When Karin heard of others in La Leche League battling breast cancer, she would ask me to let others know she was a resource for them and happy to speak with them. As she fought her own battle, she continued to reach out to others, providing information and support so that they could make their own informed choices. Karin not only promoted the leadership skills and philosophy of our organization, she lived them each and every day. She was a wonderful source of inspiration and support to me over the years and had her own special way of putting things in perspective. Her sense of humor also served to lighten the intensity of many situations.
La Leche League has gained so much thanks to the long term commitment and dedication Karin made. Her talents have enriched us all and her spirit has had a profound impact on my life. I picture Karin with her sweet smile and that sparkling gleam in her eye. There will always be a place in my heart for my dear friend Karin Gausman.
Amy Shaw, Massachusetts, USA