We lost another long-time resident on October 14, when Karine Berghauser passed away after a short illness. Friends and neighbors recalled how vibrant, smart, generous and witty Karine was. Many described her as a connector of interesting people and beautiful things. She supported the arts, education and children, often connecting them to her world in ways startling and inspiring. In many ways, Karine embodied the best of King William.
Karine was born on September 29, 1954 in Wiesbaden, Germany, to Irmgard Berghauser and Gilbert Davila. The family moved to San Antonio in 1956. While in high school, Karine discovered music and acted on the stage. After graduating from Churchill High School in 1973, she performed at the Melodrama Theater in Hemisfair until moving on to study acting and modern dance at Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. She later moved to Los Angeles and then New York where she performed in live theatre and film.
Karine returned to San Antonio after marrying Bart Nichols (an accomplished dentist and musician), and they settled in King William. Their daughter Sydney was born in 1983. Karine and Bart purchased the Albert Carl Moye House at 524 King William Street in 1986, where they lived for more than 20 years.
Karine was active in our community, hosting dinners remembered for their tasteful creativity and beautiful surroundings. She chaired the parade for several years, joining it with her own blend of wit and charm. Many remembered her “duchess themes” with great fondness.
But life wasn’t just fun and games for Karine. When Sydney was older, she went back to school, earning a doctor of psychology from Our Lady of the Lake University, where she later taught as an adjunct professor. Her dissertation focused on the resiliency of same-sex parented families. Karine also championed troubled youth by serving as a...
school psychologist for the Northside I n dep ende n t School District and as a counselor at the Cyndi Taylor Krier Juvenile Correctional Treatment Center.
One of her former students recalled how powerful it was to be showered with Karine’s art and style, how involving it felt to be included in the King William Fair and First Friday events, how inspiring it was to be introduced to local artists and musicians in Karine’s well-connected circle. Karine saw love and potential where others did not.
Over the years, Karine lived on King William, Adams, Wickes and Barbe Streets. In more recent times, she quietly reached out to neighbors via social media, sending them encouraging words and funny notes. Karine is survived by her daughter, Sydney Nichols; her granddaughter, Vivienne Gonzalez; her mother, Irmgard McGehee; her brother, Gilbert Berghauser; her former spouse, Bart Nichols; and her many friends who will always be welcome in King William.
- Rose Kanusky