It is with great sadness we announce the passing of a beautiful lady, a dear friend
and member of the Texas Boomers RV Club
Margaret Karen Speir
September 27, 1948 - February 6, 2014
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.
Love leaves a memory no one can steal."
Margaret Karen Kalinowsky Speir, 65, of Austin, passed away Thursday, February 6, 2014 into the loving arms of her Lord. She was born in Houston, Texas, the second child of John Kalinowsky and Margaret June Jeffrey Kalinowsky on September 27, 1948. She graduated from Spring Branch High School in Houston with the class of 1966, attended Southwestern University in Georgetown and graduated from the University of Houston. She started her business career in Houston, working for the Hermann Hospital Department of Endocrinology.
On May 31, 1975, she married George K. Speir in Houston, and they immediately moved to Austin to operate a Kwik-Kopy Printing Center they had purchased. After moving to Austin; she never looked back, she became a proud supporter of all things Austin. Among the organizations she was a member of and supported over the years were the Austin Pilot Club, the Austin Jr. Forum where she chaired the Christmas at Caswell fund raiser one year, Austin Republican Women, her college sorority alum group, Phi Mu, the Lake Travis Thrift Shop and The Women at the Well bible study group at Lake Travis United Methodist Church.
After selling their print shop, Karen decided to go back to school and become a teacher, a profession which she always said “of all my careers”, was her favorite. After receiving her teacher’s certificate she became what could be called a professional substitute teacher. She enjoyed substituting and was available every morning to go to which ever school in the Eanes, Dripping Springs or Lake Travis School districts called her first. There were many mornings when she would get several calls.
Then one summer she was called by the principal of the Del Valle Opportunity Center to teach English, grades 9 – 12, in the district’s alternative high school. After the first week, she said, “I will stick this out till the end of the school year, but then, I am gone.” But as the year went on, she fell in love with the school, her fellow teachers, and the idea of helping at risk students graduate from high school. She stayed at Del Valle for 10 years and received numerous letters from former students thanking her for having faith in them and pushing them to graduate.
She retired from teaching in 2007 and started RVing with her husband. Her favorite summer destination was Ruidoso, NM, which almost became a second home. During the rest of the year, she looked forward to monthly weekend RV rallies with the Texas Boomers RV Club. Besides RVing, she spent the last 10 years of her life as a loyal member of the Lakeway Jazzercise Club.
In the spring of 2011 she was diagnosed with cancer, which she promptly conquered. But after major back surgery in June of 2013, she suffered a series of strokes which left her semi-paralyzed, blind, and unable to speak or swallow.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two loving sons, Christopher Bradley Speir and Gregory Kyle Speir both of Austin, one brother, John Kelly Kalinowsky of Houston, two sisters, Karol Ann Potter of Kerrville and Kathy Marie Wied of Katy. She is also survived by one niece, Annisa Reagor of Leakey, two nephews, Ross Potter of Center Point and Travis Wied of Katy and numerous grand nieces and nephews that she loved greatly. She was preceded in death by her parents and her beloved grandparents, Carl and Sue Nack.
Services were held on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 2:00 pm at the Lake Travis United Methodist Church, 1502 RR 620 North, Lakeway, TX. The family will receive friends from 6PM till 8PM Monday, February 10, 2014 at the Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 411 RR 620 South, Lakeway, TX.
The family would also like to express their thanks and gratitude to all the doctors, nurses, aides and therapists at St. David’s Medical Center, Texas Neuro Rehabilitation Center, The Summit Skilled Nursing Center at Lakeway and Heart to Heart Hospice for the loving care Karen received throughout her ordeal.
Memorial contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to Lake Travis United Methodist Church, 1502 N. RM 620, Austin, TX 78734, the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, P.O. Box 706143, Cincinnati, OH 45270 or The National Stroke Association, 9707 Easter Lane, Suite B, Centennial, CO 80112.