Maureen Kanara, 56, accomplished tennis player, golfer, baker

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Maureen Ann (Nelson) Kanara, 56, died peacefully after a courageous, eight-year battle with cancer on Jan. 8, 2014, with Edward, her husband of 33 years, by her side. Born on July 2, 1957 in River Forest to the late Nancy Feeley Nelson and Ronald T. Nelson, she was the oldest of 11 children. A graduate of the University of Illinois with a business degree in 1980, she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. They were married on May 3, 1980, and for nearly a decade she managed her husband's veterinary practice while caring for their six children in Sleepy Hollow. 

The family moved to Kennett Square, Penn., in August, 1990 where she quickly became active in her children's schools, scouts and sports organizations. An accomplished athlete, she was a nationally ranked junior tennis player, captain of the U. of I. tennis team and received one of the first full-ride athletic scholarships awarded to a woman there. Four of her six children followed in her footsteps and played sports competitively in college. 

An amazing baker and cook, her children's friends were known to stop by the Kanara house unannounced for dinners and her famous chocolate chip cookies. She enjoyed playing golf, tennis, and working out at the Kennett YMCA. After sending all six children to college, they spent their winters in Naples, Fla., where she became a competitive golfer and enjoyed spending time with her grandchildren. 

Maureen Kanara is survived by her husband, Edward W. Kanara; her children, Colleen Kempf (Scott), Mary "Katie" Morley (Kevin), Kelly Midkiff (Matthew), Kenneth Kanara (Julie), Kristen Kanara and Keith Kanara; her father, Ronald T. Nelson (Eileen); her siblings, Michael, Kevin, Bryan, Christopher, Scott, William, Todd, James, Matthew, MaryAnne Lappe and Melissa Bouchard; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins; and her six grandchildren, Ella, Hayden, Jackson, Andon, Logan and Brooks. 

Visitation with the family was held on Jan. 17 at the Longwood Funeral Home of Matthew Genereux, and a celebration service was held on Jan. 18 at the Willowdale Chapel in Kennett Square. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Maureen's memory are appreciated to the Misericordia Home (attention memo #3303), 6300 Ridge Ave., Chicago, 60660. Condolences to the family may be posted at

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