Karen Pasqualetto, age 37, of Bothell, Wash., a beloved eighth-grade teacher at St. Madeleine Sophie School passed away the morning of Monday, July 28 after a two-year battle with colon cancer.
She leaves behind her husband, Chris Hartinger, and their two-year-old daughter, Isabel.
Her grandparents are from the Dassel area.
Loretta Wright, assistant at St. Madeleine Sophie to pastor Father Jim Picton, noted last Friday that at the Thanksgiving Day Mass last year Pasqualetto volunteered to offer a reflection on thankfulness after the homily. Wright said she and many others were amazed that a woman in the middle of very difficult chemotherapy treatments asked to give a reflection on gratefulness.
“She was a teacher of course, and kept teaching us all up to the very end,” Wright said. The words on thankfulness from Pasqualetto read in part, “My gift to you is to convey my perspective, to enable you to find your priorities and live your life in the present, value your family, your faith, your community. Celebrate the gifts that God has given you and know that they come from God. Be Thankful. Be as the Samaritan in the Gospel.”
Vigil and funeral: Friday, Aug. 1, about 300 people attended the funeral Mass for Pasqualetto at St. Madeleine Sophie Church, Wash. and about 100 were at a vigil and rosary gathering the previous night.
“The Gospel reading at the vigil was a reading of the Good Samaritan chosen because of the message of compassion, hope and kindness, all hallmarks of Karen Pasqualetto,” Wright noted.
The Gospel reading for the funeral liturgy was the beatitudes, a tribute to Pasqualetto’s faith in God, and her belief in their transformative message: Love one another as I have loved you.
Relatives said that Pasqualetto loved books and reading, and that she often extolled the virtues of a competent vocabulary, Wright added. She said that Pasqualetto’s sister, Jill, gave the eulogy, commenting on Karen’s ability to be brutally honest but a true friend, confidante and advisor.
In 2007, Pasqualetto was a Fulcrum Foundation grant recipient for her development of the school’s Business Leadership Academy for middle-school students.
In the week after her death more than $2,500 in donations were made to the Karen Pasqualetto “Little Easter” Scholarship Fund (Pasqualetto means Little Easter in Italian). A golf tournament in May raised $40,000 for the fund, due in large part to Pasqualetto’s efforts in obtaining sponsorships and donations
California roots: Pasqualetto was born in Burbank, Calif. on August 31, 1970 and received a Catholic education from elementary through high school. Formerly a lawyer, she came from a business background using her law degree from the University of the Pacific School of Law to build technology companies, and she founded her own consulting firm.
She later became a teacher at St. Barbara’s School in Oakland, Calif.
Pasqualetto, a member of St. Madeleine Sophie Parish, was one of six teachers hired for the parish school’s inaugural year in 2005.
Dan Sherman, principal at St. Madeleine Sophie School, said, ‘’There was a grand plan that brought us all together to open this school and, in the process, our lives were never the same. Karen was the spark that kept the fire kindled . . . She put her whole life into a very short too short time here with us.’’
Pasqualetto was diagnosed with cancer a week after giving birth to her daughter Isabel on July 12, 2006. She married Chris Hartinger just three years ago.
“She passed away at home in Bothell, in her husband’s arms as her sister prayed the rosary,” Wright noted.
Besides her husband and daughter, Pasqualetto is survived by her father, John Pasqualetto; mother, Ruth Pasqualetto; grandparents Donald and Marilyn Fredrickson, Dassel; brother John; sister Jill; and her former students and countless friends and admirers who took heart from her grit and tenacity, and her will to live.
Father Picton said Pasqualetto “was an extraordinary person with many gifts and talents and she had a great deal of faith.”