Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Friend Karen

My friend Karen Morton passed away on July 23, 2015 after a four-month battle against cancer. You can hear her voice here.

I met Karen Morton in February 2002. The day I met her, I knew she was awesome. She told me the story that, as a consultant, she had been doing something that was unheard-of. She guaranteed her clients that if she couldn’t make things on their systems go at least X much faster on her very first day, then they wouldn’t have to pay. She was a Give First person, even in her business. That is really hard to do. After she told me this story, I asked the obvious question. She smiled her big smile and told me that her clients had always paid her—cheerfully.

It was an honor when Karen joined my company just a little while later. She was the best teammate ever, and she delighted every customer she ever met. The times I got to work with Karen were bright spots in my life, during many of the most difficult years of my career. For me, she was a continual source of knowledge, inspiration, and courage.

This next part is for Karen’s family and friends outside of work. You know that she was smart, and you know she was successful. What you may not realize is how successful she was. Your girl was famous all over the world. She was literally one of the top experts on Earth at making computing systems run faster. She used her brilliant gift for explaining things through stories to become one of the most interesting and fun presenters in the Oracle world to go watch, and her attendance numbers proved it. Thousands of people all over the world know the name, the voice, and the face of your friend, your daughter, your sister, your spouse, your mom.

Everyone loved Karen’s stories. She and I told stories and talked about stories, it seems like, all the time we were together. Stories about how Oracle works, stories about helping people, stories about her college basketball career, stories about our kids and their sports, ...

My favorite stories of all—and my family’s too—were the stories about her younger brother Ted. These stories always started out with some middle-of-the-night phone call that Karen would describe in her most somber voice, with the Tennessee accent turned on full-bore: “Kar’n: This is your brother, Theodore LeROY.” Ted was Karen’s brother Teddy Lee when he wasn’t in trouble, so of course he was always Theodore LeROY in her stories. Every story Karen told was funny and kind.

We all wanted to have more time with Karen than we got, but she touched and warmed the lives of literally thousands of people. Karen Morton used her half-century here on Earth with us as well as anyone I’ve ever met. She did it right.

God bless you, Karen. I love you.

7 comments:

Tony said...

Condolences to Karen's family. I first encountered Karen at a Hotsos class and was instantly a fan. In the years after that I never missed a chance to hear/see her present. She was gracious enough to do a lot of free webinars which were always filled with great content and insight. This is a loss for all of us in the Oracle community. My heart goes out to those closest to her. A sad day that came way too early.

George said...

My thoughts and prayers are with Karen's family today. I am very saddened to learn of Karen's much too early passing. Once I wrote a question about some scripts, and to my surprise Karen replied and answered my question, and then followed up after that. She seemed like such a genuinely nice and caring person. She will be missed.

Bryn Llewellyn said...

I shall always think of Karen as modest, approachable, humorous, a spell-binding presenter, a frighteningly knowledgeable scientist of applications that use Oracle Database, and a crystal clear analytic thinker. This is a rare mix indeed, but Karen managed the combination effortlessly and gracefully. One gets the privilege to know such people only a couple of times in a lifetime.

Eric Emrick said...

Karen was a brilliant woman and a wonderful person. She always had a smile on her face and greeted/treated people graciously. I am saddened to hear of her passing. May you rest in peace Karen.

Gary Sandler said...

Saddened for your loss Cary.

rsiz said...

a) you got that just right, thanks.
b) for once I've been succinct: A loss to both the science of Oracle and humanity.
c) what Bryn wrote.
d) Around June 12 Karen spent a bit of her precious remaining time telling our mutual friend Jonathan Lewis the best way to replace some noise cancelling headphones: Helping others to the last.

Sampath said...

Really shocking. Haven't been browsing for a while. I still remember her Training day in Hotsos a few years back. I heard her speaking for several webinars in Embarcadero. Big Loss.RIP.

Kumar