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Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson-2
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Longtime former City Clerk

Karen Anderson, 68, died March 14, 2023 at her home in Malden, after a brief illness.

She was born Dec. 28, 1954 in Danbury, Conn., third of four children of the late Robert and Barbara (Kelley) Anderson. Upon her father’s death, her mother returned the family to her native Malden. Karen attended Browne Junior High and Malden High School and graduated from UMass Boston with magna cum laude with a B.A. in economics.

Karen worked for several years as a legislative aide to Rep. John C. McNeil, D-Malden, and was appointed city clerk of Malden by the City Council in 1984. She was city clerk and chair of the Board of Registrars of Voters until her retirement in 2017, serving alongside five mayors and several dozen councilors. She helped and mentored three of her successors.

After her retirement she worked on a variety of city issues including the municipal charter, traffic codes and ordinances, serving as municipal hearing officer and managing Freedom of Information Act requests.

Karen was an avid quilter and in recent years a birdwatcher, particularly in California’s Central Valley, where her husband worked for the University of California. From their home in Merced, Calif., they explored the West Coast, with particular fondness for mid-century modern furniture, used bookstores, interesting gin and fresh seafood.

In addition to her husband, Jim Chiavelli, to whom she had been married since 1990, she is survived by her daughters, Emily Anderson Chiavelli and Margaret Celestia Chiavelli; two sisters, Judith Randall of Lynnfield and Lillian Burbank of Maine; a nephew, Jay Sears, and three nieces, Rachael Anderson, Victoria Gordon and Alexis Burbank; her in-laws, James F. and Mary Chiavelli of Nashua, N.H.; and many cousins, great-nieces and -nephews, along with her longtime “second family”, the Malloys/McInerneys. She was also the sister of the late Robert Anderson.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, March 24, at Weir MacCuish Funeral Home, 144 Salem St., Malden, with visiting hours from 3 to 6 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Malden Public Library, 26 Salem St., Malden MA 02148, in Karen’s name to support the library archives.

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