Karen (Maiju) M. Mackey (Hill) of Fairport Harbor and Kent, Ohio was born March. 11, 1938, and died October 27, 2023, in hospice care at University Hospitals' Robinson Memorial in Ravenna, Ohio.
When she was born in Painesville, Ohio her mother chose to name her Karen Marie because she wanted her to have a very "American name". Her father agreed she could be named whatever her mother wanted, but she would always be his "Little
Maiju", which is the Finnish version of Mary. Maiju had a huge heart and a way of making every person feel special and loved. While attending Lake Erie College, she worked in an orphanage in Switzerland, because she loved kids. She became an elementary school teacher in Fairport Harbor and Madison school districts. The doors of her home were never locked, and all were welcome at any time. In 1974/75 she lived in Buckhurst Hill near London for a year with her husband and two young children, while her husband taught at Bancroft's School in Woodford Green as a Fulbright Scholar. She attended "Tea" with the Queen Mother where she joked that although he was a Fulbright, she was only "half bright". Her home was known as the neighborhood gathering house, where people would always be welcome, safe, cared for, and of course well-fed. She sponsored many foreign exchange students from around the world. Several years ago, she became known as the "Licorice Lady" at Kent State University. She was fiercely Finnish with extra sisu. Even late into her years when her health was deteriorating, you could count on her to be there for her family and loved ones.
Her later years were spent in Kent, Ohio in the home of her daughter Jennifer (Rich) and granddaughter Amanda (Michael) where she was actively involved in the Kent State football program and known by all as "Granny" https://kentwired.com/29226/latest-updates/pull-peel-play-licorice-lady-inspires-flashes-football-team/.
Maiju is survived by her daughter, Jennifer (Richard) Sanders; son, Jeff (Kim) Mackey; grandchildren, Amanda (Michael) McLaughlin and Michael Sanders (Rachael Howell) and Matthew (Pia Sengupta) Mackey and Kristen Mackey; and great-grandchildren, Ryan Sanders, Skylor McLaughlin, Ronan Nolte, Weston Sanders, and Kinsley Sanders.
She was preceded in passing by her parents, Oscar and Aini Hill; her husband of 51 years, Richard E. Mackey; sister, Susan Hill; three brothers, Brooks Hill, Charlie Hill, and David Hill.
A memorial service will be held in her honor to celebrate her life at the Zion Lutheran Church 508 Eagle Street in Fairport Harbor at 11:00 AM November 25, 2023. Please join us in the church basement for a few of her favorite things as refreshments will be served following the service. In lieu of flowers, please direct gifts or donations to the Zion Lutheran Church https://zionlutheranfh.org/ and/or the Finnish Heritage Museum at 301 High Street in Fairport Harbor https://finnishheritagemuseum.org/.