BANGOR – Laurie J. Karam often arrived at the YWCA in the dim light of early dawn, before the staff arrived to unlock the doors at 5 a.m.
The 47-year-old businesswoman was an avid early-morning lap swimmer and a longtime member of the workout room.
Karam, who owned and operated Saliba’s Rug Cleaners with her husband, Conrad, died Saturday at her mother’s home after a brief illness.
The workout room at the Second Street YWCA was renamed before her death in her honor, according to Trish Phair, director of health and fitness.
“We wanted to do something special for her and to acknowledge Laurie’s contribution here before she passed away,” said Phair on Monday afternoon. “When we told her about it, she understood and was thrilled. … With her name on the door, we will feel she’s still there working out with us. She was very social, outgoing, personable and just fun to be around.”
Karam was born Nov. 3, 1953, in New Haven, Conn., the daughter of Richard and Rita Collenburg. She graduated from Bangor High School in 1971 and attended Husson College. She married Conrad Karam later that year. The couple owned and operated Conrad’s Little Big Store before purchasing Saliba’s, which Karam managed until she fell ill earlier this year.
In addition to exercising at the YWCA, Karam served on its board of directors for the past six years. She was a member and co-financial partner of the River City Investment Club, member and past-president of Tuesday Forum, member of the Human Rights Committee for Commonsense Housing and a member of the Bangor Board of Realtors.
In memory of her father, Karam raised money for the American Diabetes Association and the American Lung Association through bikeathons. She pedaled 180 miles from Sunday River to Belfast three years in a row for a fund-raiser.
Karam was predeceased by her father. Surviving, in addition to her husband and mother, are her children, Diane L. Karam, Timothy R. Karam and his fiancee, Traci Horr; Sonja C. Broad and her husband, Tom Broad; Vicki L. Gagne and her husband, Tom Gagne, Sandy Greene and her husband, Carl “Bud” Greene, and five grandchildren.
Visiting hours will be from 5 to 8 p.m. today at Brookings-Smith, 133 Center St., Bangor, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday. Interment will be at Mount Hope Cemetery. There will be a reception at the Isaac Farrar Mansion next to the YWCA after the burial.
The family suggested that people who want to remember Karam “in a special way” send contributions to the YWCA, where she spent so many hours early in the morning.