Karen was the sister of my best friend at the time, Wayne Hobik. Her brothers Harvey, Wayne and my cousin Jim Bertucci and I were always together playing on the street corner of Lawndale and Thomas. Karen would often join us playing kick the can or other street games or would come down to her basement where we had a club of neighborhood children. She was a terrific girl who ran through the OLA building alerting other classes about the fire. My last personal remembrance of her is dancing together in her basement to "The Purple People Eater" song. I believe it was her birthday party. My final remembrances were searching for her with her brothers after my school (Cameron) got out. When we couldn't find her, I waited with my friend Wayne for Mr. and Mrs. Hobik to get back home after visiting the hospitals and morgue. Unfortunately, she was not found alive. It seems like just yesterday, in some ways.
-- (Harry Rossi, Friend - October 2015)
I lived a few houses from Karen. I will never forget watching the school burn. I could never imagine Karen would be one of the victims. Karen was lovely and bright with beautiful eyes. She was beginning her transformation from girl to young woman. I was closer in age to Harvey, her brother. I remember summer days and nights playing with her siblings and mine in the alley. Her Dad would often come out and play ball with us. This is just one of many memories that seem like yesterday.
-- (Anita Rossi Grosso, Friend - October 2015)
Karen was one of my best girlfriends growing up. We were the same age. I went to Cameron public school and she went to OLA. I can remember many summers nights spent playing kick the can in the street with my brother and her brothers, we had such fun, it seems like only yesterday. We would also play dolls on her back porch, and her mother would give us ice cream bars to eat. She was a wonderful friend, and when news came that she had perished in the fire, I knew it had to be because she was trying to save someone else, and sure enough, it was. Though she has been gone many years now, memories of her still live in my heart.
-- (Dorene Rossi Muscia, Friend - October 2015)
I remember Karen so well - she was always caring for younger kids walking to school. She always had a smile and said hello to you by name. After the fire that was one of the things I missed, and a year and a half later, even though she would have been in high school, I missed her warm hello. The crossing guard Marty Limbach missed her as well, I mean she would have been in H.S., but she was still missed. Always, John Raymond
-- (John Raymond, Friend - October 2015)