Born in Richmond, Indiana on June 3 1948, to Daniel J. Peacock and Shirley Green, Karen Peacock spent her childhood years in Micronesia where her father served as the Library Services Supervisor for the Trust Territory Bureau of Education. After receiving her B.A. degree from Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana) in 1970, she returned to Micronesia, and in Saipan she worked briefly for the Congress of Micronesia, the Adult Education Program, and taught at the Marianas High School.
Karen arrived in Honolulu in January, 1973, first to obtain a master’s degree in Library Science from the University of Hawai‘i (UH) at Mānoa in 1973, and later a master’s degree in Pacific Studies, in 1978, and a doctorate in Pacific History from UH in 1990. Karen remained in Honolulu for a career of more than 30 years with the UH Hamilton Library. When she retired as professor emeritus and curator of the Pacific Collection in 2010, she had more than twenty publications to her credit and had served at various times on the editorial boards of the Center for Pacific Islands Studies' Pacific monograph series, and the journals Contemporary Pacific, Pacific Studies (BYU-Hawai'i), and the Micronesian Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities.
While a student at Earlham, Karen had attended the Clear Creek Monthly Meeting, and when she moved to Honolulu she welcomed the opportunity to become involved again with a Monthly Meeting. She was accepted into Honolulu Monthly Meeting on August 8, 1976, and served the Meeting in many ways, as member of the Oversight & Counsel, Worship & Ministry, Finance, and Library committees, as well as Pacific Yearly Meeting Representative, Archivist, and Membership Recorder.
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.
Karen passed away peacefully on Aug. 13, 2010, after a 10-month struggle with cancer. She is survived by her life partner, Kim Haines, father Daniel J. Peacock, sister Paula Bertolin (and brother-in-law Gordon), brother Daniel L. (and sister-in-law Lisa), and nieces Caroline & Beth Bertolin. A well-attended Memorial Meeting in the manner of Friends was held for her at Hamilton Library, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa on Friday, September 10, 2010.