In Memoriam: Karen Higa Hirota

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Georgia Piotter and Karen Higa Hirota

Remembering Karen Higa Hirota (BSN, ’78)

By Georgia Piotter (BSN, ’78)

My friend Karen (pictured with me on the left) was truly one of the most beautiful and kind-hearted people I have ever known. We met at SF State as new nursing students and became quick friends

We were both from small towns in California — Karen from Penryn and I from Weaverville. Karen and I worked our way through the nursing program together with Karen becoming my rock and cheerleader. I had no family to support me and no transportation to get me to clinics, and Karen stepped in to fill both voids — always encouraging me, and always driving me to clinics in her ’66 Chevy. 

Karen married, moved to Torrance, CA, and had two beautiful boys. Distance separated us, but our friendship had a bond that distance could not lessen. She worked at Little Company of Mary and then a GI lab all the way through her battle with cancer. Karen was always giving and thinking of others and even at hospice continued to make Christmas stockings with her sister to give to her doctors, coworkers and friends. Her memorial service was attended by more than 300 people, including many doctors and nurses who treated her, as well as those she with whom she worked.

Karen touched so many people's lives and reminded all of us who knew and loved her to cherish each and every day. She was an amazing woman, mother, nurse and friend that I will always remember.