Desiree White is remembered for her love of people, her cat, and music

Friday, April 26, 2013 | 7:07 p.m. CDT; updated 3:28 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 27, 2013

COLUMBIA — Desiree White loved a lot of things.

She had a great passion for rock and roll, playing the guitar, and Chuck Berry. She loved to swim. She loved her cat, Maybelline, and she loved her family and friends. 

"She was very sensitive and empathetic with others," said her aunt Irene Karns.

Desiree White died Monday, April 22, 2013, from a sudden illness. She was 50. 

Ms. White was born March 30, 1963, in Joplin to Rex and Linda White.

She earned her bachelor's degree in English from Columbia College and completed the coursework for a Master's degree in Library Science from MU. "She really loved her years at college," says Karns.

Her family suggests that others "cherish a memory, plant a flower, or do something creative you've always wanted to do" in her honor. 

Ms. White is survived by her mother and stepfather Linda and David Karns; her sister Anita Happ and her husband, Eric; two nieces, Danielle Vaughn and Erin Happ; two aunts, Irene Karns and Kay Wood, and two uncles, Jan (John) and Tyson Fredricks.

Her father Rex White, her aunt Beth Hankins, and her grandmothers Natalie Fredricks and Lena Karns died earlier. 

A celebration of her life will be held in the near future. 

Online condolences may be sent at

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