Many of you know the names Margaret Parkinson and Karen Creason. Margaret and Karen were early donors to the sanctuary. We first met them in person when they came to the open house event before the first group of chimpanzees arrived in 2008.
I remember them pulling up in the driveway with their car overflowing with blankets and toys for the chimpanzees-to-come and balloons sticking up and whipping around in the wind above their sun roof.
They stepped out of the car with smiles a mile wide, laughing and full of joy.
In the early days, they were kitchen volunteers in the chimp house, baking treats, making night bags, doing laundry, and charming us all.
Over the years, J.B. and I managed to insert ourselves into their lives, which was quite easy because they were so welcoming and also overly complimentary of our work. If ever we were feeling overwhelmed or down, a call or visit with Margaret and Karen would lift our spirits immediately.
Karen would remark over and over how wonderful we were and how delightful it was to be together as we shared stories of the chimpanzees. She had a particular connection with Negra.
Karen had many interests, and we would often talk about current events or movies or documentaries. She was a collector, an advocate, an artist, and a writer, and she lit up when sharing her latest writings or treasured objects with us.
She and Margaret last visited the sanctuary together in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. Of course, for these two, a plain ordinary mask would not do…
Karen passed away on December 31st, Margaret’s birthday.
Margaret was with Karen through all the difficulties that aging and declining health introduced. Their lives together are an inspiration for what love, marriage, and commitment can be, and we feel so lucky that they happened into our lives.