Columnists

Karen Jenè Coller

March 24, 1965 – May 22, 2022

Karen Jenè (Cheshier) Coller, 57, of Madison, Georgia, passed away on May 22, 2022 at Piedmont Hospital in Monroe, Georgia.

She was born to Donna Woodworth and Dennis Cheshier in Noblesville, Indiana.

Mrs. Coller graduated from Hamilton Southeastern High School. After graduation, she attended IUPUI, where she had planned to obtain a degree in nursing. However, she soon discovered that she was more interested in math and cooking, and she found herself working in both accounting and food service. Although she spent most of her career at Storage Express in Bloomington as a Bookkeeper, Mrs. Coller was always drawn toward the culinary arts. Over the years, she was employed in various restaurants in Indiana, with Indiana University Dining, and in a small family restaurant in Georgia. She particularly loved to bake, an interest she developed early. At the age of 10, she called her mother at work and asked if she could bake a raspberry pie; her mother told her to wait until she got home. Of course, when Donna arrived, she found a delicious raspberry pie waiting on the table. For the rest of her life, Mrs. Coller never failed to bring the most wonderful baked treats to gatherings.

She married Ben Coller in 1990 and moved from the Indianapolis area to Bloomington. They shared their love of animals, often having several dogs and cats in residence. Mrs. Coller had a real kindness about her, with a particular indulgence for her pets; she once rescued a stray dog from the road and, after being unable to locate an owner, there was no question that she would keep it herself. Yet, she was not one to put up with any shenanigans by the human population. She was known to resign from employment if others were lazy or dishonest.

Those who were closest to Mrs. Coller invariably speak of her sense of humor, her quick wit and her many funny quips. She had a fabulous memory, and surely would have won for several weeks on Jeopardy had she gotten the chance to appear. She never failed to see the fun in everything; she enjoyed golf, a hobby she shared with her mother. But, Mrs. Coller felt that the true enjoyment was the fashion, rather than the score (“It doesn’t matter how you play, as long as you look good”). Scrappy and determined, she was not only fearless in her own battles for her health, she never hesitated to step up to defend or give a helping hand to her loved ones. Although she had friendships that were life-long, she was no doubt closest to her husband, Ben. The two were inseparable, and for a decade they travelled together between Madison, Georgia and Bloomington. While her husband took dogs to field trial events in the Southeast, Mrs. Coller took her food truck, “Karen’s Weenie Wagon,” to those same events. They ultimately moved to Madison full-time in 2020. The couple shared their own private jokes and funny names, and never failed to celebrate anniversaries, not only of their marriage, but of their first date. To this day, the car in which they took that first date has been kept as a treasured symbol of their lives together.

Survivors include her parents Dennis (Jean) Chesier and Donna (Woody) Woodworth; husband Ben; brother Brian (Wilma), who selflessly donated a kidney to Karen in 2002, as well as her extended Coller family and numerous nieces and nephews.

It is with a huge sense of loss that we say “rest well” to Mrs. Coller, “Katie,” “Aunt Katie,” “KJ,” and “Mushie Mush.” We look forward to the day that we will see you again. Until then, we hope that you can be found with Winnie enjoying a Frisco Melt and laughing joyously at things that others take far too seriously.

The family invites all to a Celebration of Life, scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. on June 11, 2022 at the Lions Club in Lapel, Indiana (329 Main Street in Lapel). In honor of Mrs. Coller’s lifelong battle with Type I Diabetes, we ask that contributions be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (www.JDRF.org – a Fundraiser page has been established; to contribute, hover over “Fundraising,” click on “Find a Fundraiser,” and then type “Karen Coller” into the search bar and click on “Teams”).