Karen Sue Achille died peacefully in her home on Saturday, July 7, 2018, in Oak Bluffs, after battling cancer. She was 76.
Karen was born on Feb. 24, 1942, in Evanston, Ill., to Robert and Josephine Blakesley. Her family moved to Whitefish Bay, Wis., in 1948, and she graduated from Whitefish Bay High School in 1959. Karen received her bachelor’s in education from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a master’s degree from the University of Bridgeport.
In 1964, Karen married Michael DeVivo in Las Vegas. After starting their teaching careers in Bakersfield, Calif., they relocated to New York. Together they had a daughter, Jennifer DeVivo, and a son, Matthew DeVivo. Karen was widowed in 1970 when Michael DeVivo died from complications after open-heart surgery. Three years later she married the love of her life, Michael Achille, and together they enjoyed fulfilling teaching careers at Nanuet High School in Nanuet, N.Y., and a happy retirement filled with friends, travel, and grandchildren.
At Nanuet High School, Karen was a beloved English teacher, softball coach, and cheerleading coach until her early retirement in 1988. Her fabled 1987 cheerleading squad qualified and competed in the National High School Cheerleading Championship. Karen and Mike both retired from teaching in 1988 and relocated to the town of Oak Bluffs, where they each began second careers. As the children’s librarian at the Vineyard Haven library and later the Oak Bluffs library, Karen discovered she had a sweet spot for engaging children of all ages, and for writing grant proposals for the community.
Karen was an active part of the Martha’s Vineyard community, devoting her time and talents to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Martha’s Vineyard, M.V. Center for Living, Council on Aging, Massachusetts Librarians Association, and many others.
Karen Achille is survived by her husband of 45 years, Michael Achille of Oak Bluffs, and two biological and four stepchildren; Christine Gunter of New Orleans, La.; Michael Achille and Mark Achille of Orleans; Jennifer DeVivo of West Tisbury; Jennifer Parks of Chico, Calif.; and Matthew DeVivo of Raleigh, N.C.
A celebration of Karen Achille’s life will be held at one of her favorite places, the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury. All are invited to join her family there on Friday, August 3, 2018, at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, feel free to make a contribution to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Cancer Support Group, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Martha’s Vineyard, M.V. Center for Living, or Council on Aging.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guestbook and information.