Services Saturday for Karen Kublank, Title IX pioneer at Palatine High
Karen Bock Kublank, one of the first Title IX coaches at Palatine High School, died last week after battling brain cancer since October 2017. She was 69.
She was Palatine's first girls tennis coach in 1972, the year girls sports began at the District 211 school. Kublank guided the Pirates to a third-place finish in an unofficial state finals one year before the tournament was sanctioned by the Illinois High School Association.
One of Kublank's top players was Colleen Cleary Farrell, who went on to play professionally and is now a tennis pro in California.
"Although Karen moved on to many other things, she did lay the groundwork for a successful program," said Karen's husband, Jerry Kublank, who was the longtime softball coach at Palatine and later served as an assistant in the St. Viator softball program.
"At the beginning of her career, my wife's roommate was Linda Kostelnak Tefft, the first Palatine softball coach who died in 2012," Jerry said. "It appears the first coaches of Title IX, including my wife, did a great job. If they had botched things up, who knows if the programs would have survived."
Karen and Jerry, who worked in the special education department at Palatine, married 38 years ago.
Karen was the first in her family to attend college, receiving her degree in English from the University of Illinois.
In her youth, she taught summer school to her six younger siblings and several neighborhood children, going so far as to pass out and grade papers.
She poured herself into her career as an English teacher at Palatine High School from 1972 to 2001 and as the English department chair at Schaumburg High School from 2001 to 2005.
She met Jerry on "New Teacher Day" and they taught together in District 211 for 30-plus years.
Karen also sponsored student council, serving as president of the local Illinois Association of Student Councils district and establishing the Palatine Christmas Bazaar, which is still going strong today.
She received a number of accolades for her service, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, Principal's Award of Excellence, and District 211 Honored Faculty Member Award.
Visitation is 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Davenport Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 149 W. Main St. (Lake-Cook Road), Barrington. Visitation continues at 10 a.m. Saturday until an 11 a.m. funeral service at St. Matthew Lutheran Church, 720 Dundee Ave., Barrington. Interment will be private.