Cover photo for Karen Willis Piner's Obituary
Karen Willis Piner Profile Photo
1960 Karen 2023

Karen Willis Piner

September 25, 1960 — February 27, 2023


Karen Willis Piner, 62, of Williston, North Carolina, passed away on Monday, February 27, 2023, at her home.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m., Monday, March 6th at Vergie Mae Cemetery on Harkers Island, officiated by Bishop James Morris. The family will receive friends from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., Sunday, March 5th at Munden Funeral Home.

Karen Frances Willis was born to Charles Manly and Deanna Willis on September 25th, 1960, in Morehead City, NC. Karen was raised in Williston, NC. She was the oldest of three children. Her childhood was spent with her siblings “Man” and Nicole along with her many cousins and friends.

Karen was a student at Smyrna Elementary School and East Carteret High School. She graduated from East Carteret High School in 1978. Karen was an exceptional student and started college courses while finishing high school. She became a licensed cosmetologist shortly after.

Karen married her husband Christopher Dennis Piner on September 28th, 1986, in Davis, NC. They were married for 36 years. In December of 1987, they welcomed their first and only daughter Katlyn Brooke. Katlyn became her eyeball and Karen was a proud and loving mother. That pride and love grew even more with the birth of her first and only granddaughter Ella Brooke in December of 2015. “Nannie” became Karen’s new name, and it was the one she loved the most.

Karen was a hard worker and had many talents and interests. She worked as a cosmetologist for over 15 years. She worked in the seafood industry with Luther Lewis and Son in Davis, NC. She and her husband Chris were co-owners of Eastern Athletic Club, where she worked as a manager for 21 years until retirement. Karen loved her family and they loved her. She took pride in planning many family gatherings. She enjoyed being outdoors, especially mowing the lawn. She loved music, traveling, Halloween, and capturing many pictures and videos. She will be dearly missed.

Karen is survived by her husband of 36 years, Christopher Dennis Piner. Daughter Katlyn Piner Lewis and husband Zachary Lewis. Granddaughter Ella Brooke Lewis. Her mother Deanna Rose Willis. Her sister Nicole Willis Piner (Mark). Her mother-in-law Nancy Willis Lewis. Sister-in-law Gay Piner Mason (Chuck). Nieces, Emily Piner-Hardy, Amy Taylor (Charles), Ashlyn Goodwin (Scott), Justine Piner (Ty), Brianne Willis, and Saylor Mason. Nephews, Jared Willis (Megan) and Chandler Mason. Great nieces, Mackenzie Goodwin and Haileigh Willis. Great nephews, Jackson Hardy, Landon Taylor, Collin Hardy, Mason Taylor, Jailyn Willis, Easton Hardy, Logan Taylor. And many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Karen was preceded in death by her father, Charles Manly Willis Sr.; her brother, Charles Manly Willis Jr.; her maternal grandparents, Nettie and Cletus Rose; and her paternal grandparents, Louie and Mary Frances Willis and Sarah Ella and Mr. Charlie Willis.

Flowers are welcome or donations can be made to Vergie Mae Cemetery Fund (Perry Paylor), 164 Cape Lookout Drive, Harkers Island, NC 28531.

Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen Willis Piner, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, March 5, 2023

6:00 - 8:00 pm (Eastern time)

Munden Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc.

2112 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC 28557

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Monday, March 6, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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