Karen Born-Cafaro

Obituary of Karen M. Born-Cafaro

Please share a memory of Karen to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.


After a courageous battle with ovarian cancer, Karen M. Born-Cafaro passed away peacefully at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital with her cherished family by her side. She had shared 58 years of unconditional love, infectious laughter, priceless wisdom, and unforgettable memories with family and friends.


Born and raised in Sheboygan Falls, WI to the late Ronald and Mary Ellen Born, she was one of two children to bless their household. Karen broke the mold when she was born; a very spiritual individual, she took everything that was dealt to her in this world as a blessing, and as an opportunity to learn and grow no matter the circumstances. Karen was always on the go - always working and striving to do better. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music Education from William Paterson University and her Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Southern California. In her younger years, Karen excelled at everything she did. She followed her path without limitation. Throughout her life, she leapt into every opportunity with an open heart, dedication, passion, and talent. In addition to being a gifted classical singer, Karen was an equally gifted teacher. Her private voice teaching spanned over three decades. She was also a vocal professor at William Paterson University for over 10 years. With that being said, her shining achievement in her professional career was co-founding and co-owning Gateway to the Arts in Denville, NJ. While she accomplished much in her music career, the most important part of her legacy will always be her students. She loved and taught them as if they were her own, making lasting impacts on their lives. Her former students have achieved many incredible things. However, all of her students would say their greatest takeaway from their time with her is what they learned about being their truest selves.


Karen was one-of-a-kind: she was spontaneous, down to earth, classy, and genuine. She always made the best of every situation. Karen was all about creativity and love. Her belief was that even after we depart this physical plane, our spirit will continue to evolve and create. She has left a lasting impact on this world that will forever be remembered and treasured: most notably, in her adored children. They were her world and she was so proud of the adults that they have blossomed into. Although we are deeply saddened by her passing, we take comfort in knowing we have the greatest Guardian Angel looking out for us from above.


Her legacy will live on in the hearts of her beloved children, Rayne D. Cafaro and Kia A. Cafaro; her caring niece, Brianna; her loving nephew, Brandon and his wife Ashley; her brother, William and his wife Jean; extended family, friends, and students. We would also like to extend a special thank you to the many caregivers who went above and beyond throughout her journey these past few years taking extraordinary care of Karen.


Please leave a condolence, light a candle, or share your favorite memory of Karen here to continue to commemorate the extraordinary life, insight, and knowledge she endowed to us. 


Relatives and friends are welcome to pay their respects at Norman Dean Home for Services, 16 Righter Avenue, Denville, NJ 07834 on Saturday, February 19th from 3 – 7 pm with a Celebration of Life to conclude the visitation beginning at 6:30 pm. Please leave a condolence, light a candle, or share your favorite memory of Karen here to continue to commemorate the extraordinary life, insight, and knowledge she endowed to us.