Karen A. Kukolich of Edgartown died peacefully at her home on Oct. 26, 2019. She fought a long, valiant, and painful battle with cancer. Her wish to spend her last days in her home was made possible with the compassionate and skilled support of M.V. Hospice.
Karen was born In Vicksburg, Mich. She graduated from Ithaca College, earning a degree in physical therapy. She arrived on the Vineyard in 1978 when she accepted a job at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. After five years she opened her own private P.T. practice in Edgartown. She retired in April 2010. While managing her successful P.T. business, she also volunteered and assisted as a certified CPR for the Vineyard EMT for seven years.
She was an active participant and member of many Island organizations over the years, such as the M.V. Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and the Surfcasters Association, which recently celebrated her 75th birthday on Oct. 6 at Wasque, where she was toasted with her favorite Scotch. Most notably, she served as director of the board of the M.V. Land Bank, the Rod & Gun Club, and Island Health Care of M.V.
Karen’s love for fishing and boating is well known and documented, on and off the Island. She liked nothing better than to captain her boat, the Tippet, through Vineyard waters. She belonged to the International Game Fish Association, and holds world fly fishing records with her Pacific crevalle jack and roosterfish catches in 1996 and 2000 respectively. Her love for saltwater fly fishing took her to many far-flung and interesting parts of the world, but she was always happiest when returning to the Island home she so cherished.
She fished enthusiastically in both conventional and fly fishing Derby events, winning first place for a bluefish caught off a boat in 2001. She enjoyed her membership on the Derby committee, and especially loved to volunteer as one of the fillet masters.
She served as director and treasurer on the board of International Women Fly Fishers for many years, and hosted one of the annual international fly fishing events here on M.V.
Karen participated and excelled in many recreational activities, and was an enthusiastic sportsperson. She was a member of the Vineyard Golf Club, and enjoyed participation in many Island golf tournaments. She actively participated in skeet-shooting events. She loved weekly games with the Tuesday Ladies Mahjong Group, and bridge games with close friends. She regularly attended plays and concerts both on and off the Island.
Karen is survived by her older brother, Stephen Kukolich (wife Penny) in Tucson, Ariz., and sister Mary Kukolich in Fort Worth, Texas. She leaves behind her nephews Steve and Keith, and niece Kari; great-nieces Stephanie, Katherine, Margaret, and Gail, and great-nephew Peter.
It was Karen’s wish to be cremated. Her longtime close Island friend, Ursula Kreskey, will be arranging a celebration of her life in late spring 2020, when her ashes will be scattered on her beloved Vineyard Sound.
It was also her wish that donations on her behalf be given to the Animal Shelter of M.V., P.O. Box 1829, Edgartown, MA 02539. She loved all animals, and enjoyed the companionship of both dogs and cats throughout her adult life.