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Published: Friday, 9/19/2008

Ex-local woman in Florida feeding tube dispute dies


A former local woman who was at the center of a feeding tube dispute reminiscent of the late Terri Schiavo s has died in Florida and will be buried in Toledo.

Karen Weber, 57, who was partially paralyzed from a December stroke and unable to speak or swallow, died Wednesday night from natural causes, her sister, Joyce Tatro-Manes of Sylvania Township, said in an e-mail to The Blade yesterday. She was unavailable for further comment.

Ms. Weber s mother, Toledo Municipal Court retiree Martha Tatro, now of Okeechobee, Fla., had been battling in court with her son-in-law to keep her older daughter s feeding tube in place.

Raymond Weber, also formerly of Toledo, had sought to have it removed and his wife transferred to a hospice facility, saying she is in a vegetative state and would not want to live that way.

Unlike Ms. Schiavo, who died in 2005 after her feeding tube was removed against the wishes of her parents, Ms. Weber was able to laugh and communicate through gestures with her head after having a stroke in December.

Ms. Weber, who did not have a living will but indicated this spring she did not want to go to a hospice, later was weakened by infection and other complications, Mrs. Tatro-Manes has said.

Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe. Details are pending about Monday s services at Resurrection Cemetery, 5725 Hill Ave..

The legal battle in Okeechobee County Circuit Court caused a divide between Tatro and Weber relatives, some of whom still live in the Toledo area, Mrs. Tatro-Manes has said.

After graduating from a Cleveland high school, Ms. Weber moved with her family to Toledo, where she lived for a few years.

She and her husband, who have three adult children, spent much of their adult lives in California but for the last few years were staying with her mother in Okeechobee.

Ms. Weber had her second stroke in 17 years last December and had been in failing health the last few years, Mrs. Tatro-Manes said.

Not long before that second stroke, she had a seizure after the Webers went to the airport to pick up Ms. Tatro, who was returning from the Toledo area to help with Mrs. Tatro-Manes younger daughter, Gracie, now 10 months, she said.

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