Karen Lee Canzanello passed away peacefully on Saturday, September 16, 2023, at her home following a year-long battle with abdominal cancer of unknown primary.
Karen was born on August 26th, 1952, at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, MA to Walter and Eleanor (Carleton) Buraczynski. She grew up in Wellesley, MA and in 1970 graduated from Wellesley High School where she excelled in academics, lacrosse, and swimming. She then attended the University of Connecticut and graduated with BS degree in Nursing.
After working for several years in the emergency department and the neonatal ICU at Boston Children's Hospital she obtained a master's degree in Maternal Child Health from the Boston College School of Nursing. She worked as an OB-GYN nurse practitioner at Albany Medical Center Hospital, Harvard Community Health Plan, Forsyth Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC and as an Obstetrics nursing instructor at Winona State University. Karen retired in 2018 after a 25-year career in Women's Health at Olmsted Medical Center. Much of this was related to following her husband through his medical training and academic faculty positions. Her years in OB-GYN at OMC gave her the most joy, particularly seeing the grown children of the women she cared for during their pregnancies. She was often thanked for her loving care by old patients throughout Rochester that she would run into as teachers, servers in restaurants, hairdressers, dog groomers, etc.
She met her future husband, Vincent Canzanello, at Lake Winnipesaukee, NH in August of 1969 when they were both 16 years old. They were inseparable from that first day on and married in 1975 on the campus of Boston College. They were blessed with three sons, Andrew (Sarah) of Edwards CO, Eric (Katie) of Keene NH, and Nicholas (Megan) of Rochester MN and subsequently 8 grandchildren. She was an outstanding "hockey mom" in every good sense of the term raising 3 successful hockey playing sons.
Karen was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and was subsequently a pioneering member of the Pink Ribbon Mentor program at Mayo Clinic, Join the Journey, and the Making Waves Dragon boat group. She received numerous accolades from those she mentored in the Pink Ribbon Mentors program, many of whom went on to become mentors themselves.
Karen is survived by her husband of 48 years, Vincent, her mother Eleanor, her sister Patricia (Jim) Frisone, her 3 sons and 8 grandchildren (Connor, Graham, Bailey, Ayla, Nico, Ella, Lauren, and Brody). She was preceded in death by her father Walter.
The family is particularly grateful for the outstanding and compassionate care provided to Karen by Dr. Harry Fuentes Bayne and the chemotherapy nurses in the Mayo Clinic Department of Medical Oncology.
Visitation will be Friday, September 29, 2023 from 5:00 - 7:30 PM at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home (5421 Royal Place NW, Rochester, MN 55901). For Karen's family and close friends, a memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2023 at 12:30 PM at Congregational Church UCC (974 Skyline Dr, Rochester, MN 55902).
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations in Karen's name to Join the Journey. Karen was a dedicated volunteer for Join the Journey, a breast cancer awareness organization, for nearly 20 years. She touched the lives of many through her participation in Pink Ribbon Mentors, a group sponsored by Join the Journey focused on support of those impacted by breast cancer.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Canzanello family; to share a special memory or condolence; please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.