Dr. Karen Peacock

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

It is with deep regret and sadness that we report the passing of Dr. Karen Peacock.

Karen Peacock was professor emeritus and retired curator of the Pacific Collection, Hamilton Library, University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She passed away peacefully on August 13, 2010 after a ten month battle with cancer.

Karen’s career with the UH Library spanned more than thirty years. She began in the Pacific Collection, where she briefly worked in a temporary position before moving into a tenure-track position with the Social Sciences & Humanities reference department. She returned to the Pacific Collection in 1980 as a Pacific specialist and in 1987 assumed curatorship of the collection upon the retirement of R. Renee Heyum. In addition to her work as curator of the Pacific Collection, she also served as department head for the Hawaiian & Pacific Collections (formerly Special Collections) at Hamilton Library from 2001 until her retirement. Karen became ill late last year and officially retired on February 1st of this year.

Born in Richmond, Indiana, Karen spent her childhood years in Micronesia where her father, Daniel J. Peacock, served as the director of library services. After receiving her BA from Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana), she returned to Micronesian, and in Saipan she worked briefly for the Congress of Micronesia, the Adult Education Program, and taught at the Marianas High School.

Karen received her Masters of Library Science in 1973, a MA in Pacific Studies in 1978 and PhD in Pacific History in 1990. She has more than twenty publications to her credit and served at various times on the editorial boards of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies’ Pacific monograph series, Contemporary Pacific, Pacific Studies (BYU-Hawai’i), and the Micronesian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities.

Karen was devoted to the Pacific, especially Micronesia. She gave a great deal of her time and energy to supporting the work of Pacific libraries and archives and advising and mentoring many of the islanders with whom she came into contact. In recognition of her efforts, she was honored by the Pacific Islands Association of Libraries and Archives with its Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Other awards bestowed upon her included the Outstanding Alumni Award by the UH School of Library and Information Studies, the UH Library’s Nina D.P. Horio Excellence in Librarianship Award, and the Dr. Sarah K. Vann Professional Services Award (UH Library and Information Studies program).

Karen is survied by her life partner, Kim Haines, father Daniel J. Peacock, sister Paula Bertolin (brother-in-law Gordon), brother Daniel L. (sister-in-law Lisa) and nieces Caroline & Beth Bertolin.

Arrangements for a memorial service are still pending at this time.

Lynette Furuhashi
Stuart Dawrs

University of Hawaii at Manoa Library,
Special Collections


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The blog for the University of Hawaii Library & Information Science Alumni Group.

9 Responses to “Dr. Karen Peacock”

  1. Karen was the epitome of professionalism coupled with ready support for her colleagues. Never pretentious despite her many accomplishments, she welcomed and provided opportunities for both newcomers and old acquaintances for professional development. Her genuineness and warmth will long be extolled.

  2. For me, Karen was the epitome of the engaged intellectual. Working as a librarian wasn’t just a job, it was a way of being that created a close connection between the intellectual and social worlds that she so positively affected. She helped raise the level of the intellectual life for everyone who came in contact with her.

  3. I took Karen’s LIS 693 Pacific Resources class while in the LIS program at UHM. It was a great class and Karen was a great teacher. Her knowledge and enthusiasm about the subject and her collection were passed on to all who took her class. She also arranged to have a student from Chuuk participate and it was like an added bonus to the class. She was a staunch champion and a great role model of how librarians can make a difference by being focused and organized. I’m really glad I took the class. She will be sorely missed but she did a really good job communicating her enthusiasm and dedication of her collection and her profession.

  4. I was very fortunate to have met Karen when I was an intern in the Pacific Collection. She has been an excellent role model. Her ability to speak her mind while respecting other points of view was particularly inspiring.

  5. Ever since we were classmates in library school at UH and ended up working in Pacific collections I have always looked up to Karen as a true colleague and friend. I viewed her as a great role model of professionalism, enthusiasm and encouragement. She will be hard to replace. There will never be another like her.

  6. ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: Memorial service for Karen Peacock
    Date: Thu, 26 Aug 2010 09:06:03 -1000
    To: lib_ids@lists.hawaii.edu

    Dear Library ‘Ohana

    We are holding a memorial service for Karen Peacock on Friday, September 10, 2010 at 4:00 pm in the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections’ Reading Room, Hamilton Library. Please
    join us in remembering a dear friend and colleague.

    Contributions in Karen’s memory may be made to:
    St. Francis Hospice
    The Sister Maureen Keleher Center
    24 Puiwa Road
    Honolulu, HI 96817
    Honolulu Friends Meeting
    2426 Oahu Avenue
    Honolulu, HI 96822

    Please share this message with other friends of Karen.
    Thank you,
    Joan Hori
    Hawaiian and Pacific Collections Department
    Library University of Hawaii at Manoa

  7. Karen is one of those people whom you will never forget. Besides her wealth of knowledge, it is her kind, caring spirit that I remember most. It is indeed a great loss to the library community upon which she has left an indelible imprint. Pacific Collection will not feel the same without her larger-than-life presence. I’m glad that I had the opportunity to know her as a friend and a colleague.

  8. To a wahini who has helped everyone in need of assistance in the
    Special Collections. You will be greatly missed! You have made it to the summit!!!
    Aloha nui loa, Karen.

    With much aloha, Debbie Dennison

    Deborah J. Dennison MLIS -2005
    “Whatever the struggle, consider the climb. It may be only one more step to the summit.”~~~Diane Westlake

  9. When I think of Karen, I remember joining her on the loading dock of Hamilton Library and swapping stories and anticipating her throw-head-back laugh. Such a gut deep, thorough sense of hilarity. I also remember how excited she got when I told her I actually OWNED a copy of the film, Valley Of The Dolls, and that I would loan it to her. We certainly were kindred spirits in some ways.

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