Adored Physical Education Teacher Passes Away Much Too Soon
Orinda resident Karen Semenza Fazio was born Oct. 22, 1970 in New Jersey and earned her angel wings on June 20, 2018. She passed away at John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek at the age of 47 with her family by her side. She fought a valiant battle against ovarian cancer for over 3-1/2 years and was an example of strength, resilience and determination. She earned the nickname of Wonder Woman by her amazing oncology nurses at Diablo Valley Oncology. This caught on and eventually everyone was calling her Wonder Woman.
Born in Rahway, New Jersey, Karen moved to Martinez in 1983 with her family. There she attended Valley View Middle School and graduated from College Park High School in 1988 where she was a star athlete playing basketball, softball and track. Inducted into the College Park Athletic Hall of Fame, a banner recognizing her athletic abilities still hangs in the College Park gymnasium. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1992 and teaching certificate in 1993 at St. Mary’s College, where she also played and excelled in softball. She married the love of her life Steve Fazio in 2003.
Karen started her teaching career in the West County School District before moving to the Orinda Union School District. She taught in the classroom for a number of years at Glorietta Elementary School before transitioning into being a physical education teacher for both Glorietta and Wagner Ranch Elementary Schools. Karen truly loved teaching and all of her students. She made physical education fun and her students adored her.
Those left to honor Karen and remember her love are her husband Steve Fazio, parents Anthony and Shirley Semenza, mother-in-law Angie Fazio, sisters Cheryl Semenza and Lori (John) McDonald, stepdaughter Michelle (Brandon) Hanson, stepsons Nick and Alex Fazio, niece Kylee McDonald, and the light of her life, her granddaughter Julia Hansen. Karen was preceded in death by her father-in-law Giobatta Fazio. She is also survived by many aunts, uncles and cousins in New Jersey. Karen was a beautiful, funny, kind, loving, courageous person. Her passing has left a void in the hearts of so many.
The date for her celebration of life had not been announced by press deadline.