Karen Mitterer, 40

Attorney for families with special education needs

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Karen Lynn Mitterer, 40, died on Sept. 22, 2012. Born on Sept. 10, 1972 in Hinsdale, she attended and graduated from Grace Lutheran School and Oak Park and River Forest High School. After completing her Bachelor of Arts in English from Smith College, she went on to pursue a law degree from Chicago Kent School of Law.

Focusing on special education, Karen counseled families on dealing with challenges and acted as an advocate for those students in need. She reportedly thrived on helping others achieve success and believed that everyone deserves a chance to learn.

As aggressively as she pursued her career, Karen was also fighting a daily battle with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. After being diagnosed at 18 months of age, she flourished against all odds. Many times she was told her survival was based solely on her tenacity. Family and friends say she gave this disease a tough fight and though her body succumbed in the end, her legacy of bravery, courage, wisdom, and humor and her beautiful smile will long be remembered.

Karen Mitterer is survived by her parents, William Joseph and Linda Thurber Mitterer; her sister, Lauren M. Mitterer; and her maternal grandmother, Ava Louise Thurber.

Memorials may be made to the Karen L. Mitterer Memorial Fund at MUSC Pediatric Rheumatology Dept., c/o First Reliance Bank, 800 S. Shelmore Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, S.C. 29464.

A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting the website at www.jhenrystuhr.com.

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