This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Karen Genest, 35, born on December 29, 1969 and passed away on June 28, 2005. We will remember her forever. 
Alexis Genest

Posted by Jane Walther on July 5, 2022
Karen, thank you for teaching me so much about friendship. Miss you!!
Posted by Alexis Genest on June 29, 2022
Your smile conquered my heart. The memories we shared comfort me every day.
Posted by Jonathan Flinker on December 29, 2021
You are always with me, but I still miss you every day and forever my dear sister.
Posted by Jeff Hirsch on December 29, 2021
Remembering you with great fondness on your birthday.
Posted by Alexis Genest on December 29, 2021
You are that break in the clouds that lets the sun shine through! Missing you on this special day.
Posted by Jane Walther on December 29, 2021
Oh, yes...December 29th. Happy birthday, dear friend. Miss you. - Jane
Posted by Alexis Genest on June 28, 2021
I am missing you in ways no words can express. I cherish the treasure of you sweet Pea.
Posted by Jane Walther on June 28, 2021
Karen, miss you today and always.
Posted by Alexis Genest on December 29, 2020
Today, it is the date of your birthday. I only wish your happiness and peace, my sweetheart wherever you are, with my lots of love, happy birthday sweet Pea!
Posted by Jane Walther on July 8, 2020
As summer rolls around, I always think of Karen and the adventures we had in France in the summers of '86 and '92: going to classes at Universite' de Grenoble, meandering through the narrow streets of St Paul de Vence, eating cotton candy at the Eiffel Tower, swimming at the beach in Bordeaux, dinners at Au Gamin de Paris, to name a few... Miss you, friend... But I can't help but smile when I recall the fun times we had together. xo Jane 
Posted by Andrea Holt on June 28, 2020
Thinking of Karen and her family today. Missing her and her beautiful smile.
Posted by Alexis Genest on June 28, 2020
Dance Me to the End of Love
Leonard Cohen
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Lift me like an olive branch and be my homeward dove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Oh, let me see your beauty when the witnesses are gone
Let me feel you moving like they do in Babylon
Show me slowly what I only know the limits of
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on
Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long
We're both of us beneath our love, we're both of us above
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the children who are asking to be born
Dance me through the curtains that our kisses have outworn
Raise a tent of shelter now, though every thread is torn
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin
Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in
Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Dance me to the end of love
Posted by Jane Walther on December 30, 2019
I loved looking through the photos. A beautiful person and a life well lived. Happy birthday, Karen.
Posted by Alexis Genest on December 29, 2019
50 candles today... I am glad I could spend the day with Joan, Jon and Sarita!
Posted by Jane Walther on July 19, 2019
My niece is now 16 years old and is earning/saving money to go to Europe (Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, and London) for the first time, two years from now. I made a donation to her account and am so excited for her!
When I was 16, I went to France for the first time and it was on that trip that I made a life long friend: Karen Flinker. I have so many memories of that incredible trip, the flame it ignited, and the many great experiences that followed.
I wish my niece many great adventures on her trip to Europe and may she make a friend as wonderful as Karen.
Rest in peace, dear friend. I will never forget you.
Posted by Jeff Hirsch on June 28, 2019
Think of the entire Flinker-Genest clan today. Sending love to all of you and thinking of our dear absent friend and family member.
Posted by Alexis Genest on June 28, 2018
J'ai rêvé de toi sweet Pea!
Recueil : La part du rêve (1863)
Depuis que je t'ai vue, ébloui par l'éclair,
Mon œil s'est voilé d'un mirage ;
Je regarde sans voir, ou je ne vois dans l'air
Flotter qu'une forme, ta douce image ;
Le jour, tout éveillé, je songe ; et, dans la nuit,
Comme un feu follet qui se lève,
Cette image, la tienne, apparaît, et me suit
Au plus profond de mon âme et de mon rêve.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel
Posted by Andrea Holt on June 28, 2018
Thinking of Karen today and always.
Posted by Jeff Hirsch on June 28, 2018
Today my thoughts go to your beautiful family who still hold you in their hearts and minds. You are loved and dearly missed.
Posted by Wendy Cole on December 29, 2017
Happy Birthday my dear, dear friend. I miss your bright, true smile, our laughs, our friendship. This day brings me joy and tears every year--as I celebrate the birth of my oldest daughter Katie, who it turns out was meant to share your special day. As I light a candle for her birthday, I also light one for you. My last memory of you was celebrating your 35th birthday with afternoon tea at the Fairmont on Nobb Hill. How I cherish that time I was able to spend with you. Your spirit is always in my heart.
Posted by Jane Walther on June 28, 2017
Forever missed...forever in our hearts.
Posted by Alexis Genest on June 28, 2017
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal"...
Posted by Andrea Holt on January 5, 2017
I lived with Karen for 6 weeks in Paris (1991). My friend from college, Jen Guilbert Shaffer, was friends with Karen iand she invited me to stay with them in Paris. Karen became an instant friend. She made me laugh and was so easy to get along with that I felt like I had known her for years. We had so many great times together in Paris! I will never forget that happy time and I will never forget Karen. A beautiful, giving, funny, incredible person who touched my life in so many ways.
Posted by Alexis Genest on June 26, 2016
Annabel Lee - Poem by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes! - that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we-
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

Leave a Tribute

Recent Tributes
Posted by Jane Walther on July 5, 2022
Karen, thank you for teaching me so much about friendship. Miss you!!
Posted by Alexis Genest on June 29, 2022
Your smile conquered my heart. The memories we shared comfort me every day.
Posted by Jonathan Flinker on December 29, 2021
You are always with me, but I still miss you every day and forever my dear sister.
Recent stories

OOMAH THE OSTRICH [Karen - 2005]

Shared by Alexis Genest on June 26, 2016

I only wanted one thing for my 8th birthday. A dog. Instead, Dad got me an ostrich. An ostrich! How crazy. Why couldn’t I be like everybody else?


“How do you like your new pet, Aiden?” Dad asked at my party while leading the gigantic, brown, gangly bird into our family room on a leash.  I didn’t want to hurt Dad’s feelings, so I just smiled. He had been doing some strange things since Mom moved out. But, I was so embarrassed. None of my friends had such a strange pet. I wanted to disappear. How could I ever love an ostrich?


“Boys and girls, parents, and especially Aiden, I introduce you to Oomah the Ostrich,” announced Dad while holding the ostrich’s leash. “I adopted this stunning bird for Aiden from an organization that places retired, fully-trained circus animals in the care of willing families. I think you’ll find that Oomah is quite remarkable and not so different from other pets.” Some of my friends looked scared, parents whispered to each other with what appeared to be curiosity and wonderment. Everybody seemed thrilled…except me.


Once my guests left, Dad led Oomah out to our fenced-in backyard.  Her body was so wide that I wasn’t sure she would fit through our doors. A huge, soft silky feather fell to the floor in our kitchen. When Dad wasn’t looking, I put it in my box of treasures under my bed. Even though I had other feathers in there from a pillow fight, this one was the coolest.


“Welcome to the family, Oomah. Tomorrow morning, Aiden and I will take you for a walk in Golden Gate Park.” Oomah was actually taller than Dad. In fact, she was as tall as a basketball player. But then again, basketball players didn’t have wide bodies and tiny flat heads sitting on long, snake-like fuzzy necks.


While lying in bed, I couldn’t stop thinking about how tomorrow, the entire world would see how ridiculous I looked walking my giant bird.


The next morning, I had hope that I dreamt of the entire feathered fiasco. However, while peaking out of my bedroom window, Oomah stood staring at me from the middle of my backyard.  Then, Oomah laid her flat, down-covered head onto the ground as if she knew I was watching. She looked so sad. Not only did Dad not get me a dog, he got me a depressed, gargantuan bird. Just what we needed…


“Put your sneakers on,” Dad said, “time to take Oomah for that walk.”


“Ostriches don’t know how to walk on leashes,” I said.


“This one does. Remember, the circus trained her. You’ll see how many amazing things she can do.”


Dad wasn’t wrong. Oomah walked with us as if she knew exactly where she was going. The long red leash wasn’t an issue.


Once we arrived in the park, Dad exclaimed, “Shoot, I forgot our bottled water! If you think you’re ok alone with Oomah, I’ll go buy some at the Turtle Pond cart. I’ll be right back.”


Oomah and I watched Dad walk away. I was more humiliated than scared. People were staring and laughing and pointing at us.


“Oomah, don’t move!” I urged. “We have to wait here for Dad.”  I believe Oomah gave me a mischievous yet depressed look at that moment. I noticed that she had eyelashes.


All of a sudden, Oomah lurched forward and started running towards a heavily wooded area. I lost my grip on her red leash, and tripped on a root while trying to run after her. I never knew how fast ostriches could run.


My cheeks burned. Tears welled up in my eyes. My knee was bleeding. Worst of all, I lost Oomah! What would Dad say?


I hobbled through the woods trying to follow Oomah’s tracks. Through a clearing, I spotted a group of people doing yoga.


“Excuse me,” I cried, “but have any of you seen an ostrich on a leash?”


“As a matter of fact, we have,” replied the yogi. “We were doing Salutation to the Sun, and the ostrich actually performed the series of movements like a pro. I’ve never seen anything like it. What flexibility! Afterwards, the bird ran in the direction of the frisbee field.”


“My ostrich is a retired circus performer, and I have to catch her. Thanks!”


While limping toward the frisbee field, I realized that a dog would never have done yoga. But then again, who ever heard of ostriches doing yoga.


Shouts of “Yahoo! Hooray! Check it out!” beckoned me closer to the field. A crowd of people formed a circle, and in the middle, I saw Oomah. The entertained frisbee players were taking turns throwing frisbees from far and wide, and Oomah caught each one in her beak. She looked happy!


“That’s my ostrich!” I shouted with pride, “please help me catch her!” The crowd looked at me with disbelief.  Worse, I startled Oomah, and she ran away from me once again.


People stood mesmerized, applauding Oomah. I could not get through the crowd quickly enough, and once again my feathered pet had gotten a head start worthy of an Olympic medal. After all, Oomah’s legs were practically taller than me.


“Oomah! Stay! Stay, girl!” I screamed.


“The kid thinks the bird is a dog,” someone blurted.


I wish, I thought.


Speaking of dogs, I realized that my quest for Oomah had now taken us to the fenced-in area where dogs were allowed to run free without their leashes. Once again, my ostrich was center stage, to the dismay of the shocked dog owners. A tiny dog chased after and yelped at my giant bird, and Oomah appeared to play along.  Once again, people in the park looked amused. Oomah made people smile and laugh in disbelief. Even though the dogs ran free, Oomah still had her leash on. Finally, the little dog caught Oomah’s leash in its mouth. The little dog’s owner then sprinted toward his pet and grabbed Oomah’s leash.


“Please don’t let go!” I screamed, “I’ve been chasing after my pet throughout the park!


“Will the ostrich hurt me or my dog?” asked the dog owner.


“No. She loves people, just like dogs do,” I surprised myself by saying.


I then remembered Oomah’s sad eyes staring up at me while she was alone in the center of my backyard this morning. She also seemed distraught when I tried to restrain her when Dad went to get water.  In fact, every time I tried to catch my ostrich, I found her in front of a crowd, and her demeanor was far from sad.


While I gazed at the playful, yelping dogs and then regarded my ostrich, I realized that I had the best, weirdest, and most fun pet of all. Now, I figured out how to keep her happy. As a retired circus animal, Oomah had been raised to perform. Letting her do what she loved to do not only made her vivacious, it made me more confident about being different. I decided that every weekend, I would allow Oomah to perform in Golden Gate Park. I could not wait to find Dad, tell him my plan, and make lots of new friends in Golden Gate Park.

SCARGO WOODS [Karen - 2005]

Shared by Alexis Genest on June 26, 2016

I inhaled deeply. The air seemed thicker there, less penetrable. Somehow that air was indeed denser, even crowded, with the lingering salty taste and pinesap odor of slow summer days. How I remember our annual pilgrimages to Cape Cod’s prolific potter in Scargo Woods. Always behind his dirty wheel in his makeshift shed, his clay-encrusted fingers turned out splendiferous vases and bowls and mugs from slabs of gray clay. Upon his spinning wheel, I witnessed his graceful, strong hands transforming unsightly blobs of earth into velvety creations. He let me touch an unfinished bowl still on his wheel. I closed my eyes and my hand sank into cool, melting chocolate.

I waded through that humidity in search of cold, squishy frogs. I weaved in and out of the oak and pine trees. My white sandals left my toes vulnerable to the woods’ splinters. Seeking frog-whereabouts clues from the sudden ear twitches of the potter’s zaftig mancoon cat lazing about on the brown pine needles in the shade, I ran my hand through my hair. The dry clay from my fingers made my head itch.

My parents chose their treasures fresh from the potter’s kiln. From the woods outside, I heard the potter telling them with a reverent voice about his varying inspirations in choosing the rich blue that bordered a set of bowls. I anticipated hearing my father’s voice tell me later about the potter’s inspirations. Nobody knew that I overheard the conversation.

The vibrant orange of the fish in the koi pond, a few steps away from the cat, mimicked the colorful pottery placed strategically on scattered tree stumps. Frogless, I tried to touch a fish. The bright orange shininess of its scales looked smooth. While I did not succeed with the fish, I did get my hands wet from the pond’s cold water. Once again, I ran my fingers through my hair. This time, the wet clay from my hands soothed my itchy scalp. I tried to see my reflection in the pond to make sure my hair didn’t look too dirty. My bare knees sank into mud next to the pond. I quickly splashed water on my knees so that I would not get into trouble with my parents. The sound of the splash however betrayed my efforts. Not only did I see my Mom’s disappointed glance as she marched toward me but also I swallowed some muddy pond water.  The water did not taste fresh. It left some dirt in my mouth. I felt nauseous.

I heard the crackling tires of a car driving slowly down the pebbled road toward the potter’s studio. The wood-paneled station wagon stopped right beside my koi pond. I smelled cigarette smoke. A skinny freckled woman wearing nothing but a turquoise, one-piece bathing suit got out of the car and dropped her cigarette on the ground. I saw her walk towards the potter and give him a kiss. She had bare feet, so I stepped on her burning cigarette and burned the bottom of my sandals.

2006 Brain Tumor Walk and Angel Adventure

Shared by Alexis Genest on June 19, 2016
NBTS - Brain Tumor Walk and Angel Adventure Bay Area Angel Adventure