Karen Edlund

November 9, 1949 ~ November 18, 2019 (age 70)


Karen Edlund, November 9, 1949 - November 18, 2019. Of Somerville MA, died on November 18, 2019 after a courageous battle against ovarian cancer.

She was the loving and much loved wife of Phil Woodbury; they lived together in the same house in Somerville for more than forty years.  She was mom to Erika and Andrew, mother in law to Jackie, and much loved ‘Baba’ to grandchildren Kayleigh, Darragh, and Rosie. She was older sister to Christa, Paul, and Leslie

Karen was a public health nurse; for 23 years she was the director of Sexual and Reproductive Health for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. She played a leadership role in other organizations including the Cambridge Health Alliance Public Health Board, the State Family Planning Administrators Association, Provide, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, and Nurses for Sexual and Reproductive Health. That group established the Karen Edlund, RN Future Leaders Award to support NSRH nursing student chapter leaders who excel in promoting access to sexual and reproductive health on their campuses.

Karen received multiple awards including the Commonwealth Citation for Outstanding Performance twice, the State Family Planning Administrators Annual Award, and the NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Champion for Choice Award.

She was also a quilter and a mosaic artist and a founding member of the New England Mosaic Society, serving on the board and the Exhibition Committee.

Karen and Phil loved to travel both before the children arrived and later with them. She also loved spending time on Cape Cod and in Maine with friends and family.

In recent years, the legendary ‘sister trips’ with sisters Christa and Leslie and daughter Erika took them to France, Spain, and the mountains of Utah and Colorado.And before all that, she was at Woodstock.

She was loved for her creativity, calm, sense of humor, and thoughtfulness. Her family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and everyone who she touched in her professional and personal lives miss her tremendously.

There will be a Gathering to honor Karen Edlund on Sunday, January 19 from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. at the Center for Arts at the Armory, Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA. For more information and to RSVP, please contact Philip D. Woodbury at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Karen Edlund, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Gathering
January 19, 2020

3:30 PM to 6:00 PM
The Center for Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02143

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