Karen Marie Malisa

Passed: February 25, 2023

Karen Marie Malisa

Passed: February 25, 2023


Karen Malisa died tragically in Goodyear, AZ on Saturday, February 25, 2023.

Karen was a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister and aunt.  She was born August 2, 1961 to Donald and Barbara of Auburn, New York.  She excelled in volleyball and academics at Auburn High School, and graduated in 1979.  She attended SUNY at Oswego and graduated in 1983.  After moving to East Syracuse, New York, she married Stephen Michael Malisa on October 8, 1988.  Syracuse is where Karen became a mother to Stephen Thomas (1991) and Michael Donald (1993).  She was a devoted mother and wife who was always there for family.

The family moved to Arizona in 1996 where Karen coached t-ball and soccer for her sons.  She was an outstanding sports mom who became a second mother to most of her sons’ friends, even throughout their college years. She was also a great mother to her loveable labs, Samantha and Otto.

Karen and Steve were fortunate to travel to many places with their family.  In addition to Hawaii, Cancun, Newfoundland, she often traveled to the East Coast to visit extended family for holidays and family reunions.

Karen was a middle school teacher for grades 6-8 for nearly 30 years.  Twenty-two of those years were in the Litchfield School district at Western Sky Middle School where she taught math and became many students’ favorite teacher.  She also coached volleyball and volunteered for many school activities.  Karen retired from teaching in 2018.

Karen was always active, running 4-5 miles/day before preparing breakfast for her family.  She was part of ‘Gals of the West’ and ran many half and full marathons.  She also volunteered for the IMS Marathon for over 10 years.  She switched to bicycling in 2012 and became an immediate staple in the Arizona cycling community as part of the West Valley Cycle Group.

Karen was loved by numerous communities.  Her upbeat nature, combined with her vibrant smile and loving, caring personality, always made everyone feel included.  She will be greatly missed by everyone who had the honor to call her their friend or family.  In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to www.gofundme.com/f/west-valley-cycle-injury-fund

Karen is survived by her husband Steve, sons Stephen and Michael, her parents Donald and Barbara Newhook, sisters Susan Oot (Timothy), Dianne Stanbach (Kermit) and Janice Taylor along with many nieces and nephews.  A public Celebration of Life will be held at Western Sky Middle School (Goodyear, Arizona) from 5 to 7pm,  Wednesday, March 8. A funeral mass will be held at St. Thomas Aquinas, 13720 W. Thomas Rd, Avondale, AZ 85392 on Friday, March 10, 2023 at 10:30 am.

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10 responses to Karen Marie Malisa

  1. Alexie says:

    Mrs. Malisa was a wonderful teacher! My most memorable moments from middle school was in her classroom. She was always fun and energetic! She was truly a wonderful human and will be missed my many. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  3. Zach says:

    My sincere condolences. A kind and caring teacher and individual. Gone but never forgotten. Her smile and laughter was very infectious. I was privileged to have been taught by her. I am forever greatful for the impact she made on me. Eternal Rest grant unto her.

  4. Karen’s upbeat attitude, endless energy, love for her family and big smile will be missed by so many.

  5. Rorie says:

    As crazy as it is that it’s almost been a year since her passing, I’m remembering Mrs. Malia as one of my best teachers. I never liked math and she found a way to make it entertaining and fun to learn. I remember her smile and stories, how much she loved cycling and the outdoors, and her contagious energy. Rest easy.

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