Karen Marie Lewis was born June 15, 1957, in Oxford Mississippi to Paul and Alice Lewis. Paul owned and operated Lewis’s Hardware and Alice helped him run the business. They had one other child, a boy who was three years older than Karen.
Karen had a happy childhood and breezed through her school years. She had a domineering personality, but she was well liked by everyone. She enjoyed being with her friends but didn’t have a lot of time for socializing. She worked a part-time job at a coffee shop and enjoyed meeting people. She was an exceptional student and worked hard to maintain a 4.0 grade point average in high school.
Her parents had hopes that Karen would attend a prestigious school to become a doctor or lawyer, but Karen had other plans. During her senior year of high school, she met a man named Kevin and fell in love, and they planned to marry someday. She chose to stay in Oxford and attend the University Of Mississippi School of Business where she would be close to both Kevin and her family.
Shortly after her graduation with a two-year degree in business, Kevin died in a car crash. Karen was devastated. Her plans had been to further her education, but after Kevin’s death she no longer had the desire. With her parents encouragement, she applied for a job as secretary for Philip Fontaine, Oxford real estate developer. At the interview, he liked her and hired her on the spot.
At the time of Philip Fontaine’s death, she had been in his employment for twenty-five years. Karen was crushed to hear the news of his demise. She cared very much for her boss and in her eyes he could never do any wrong.