Karen Abell ’61 Marlin

On April 10, 2020, Karen Elizabeth Abell Marlin passed away and became an angel to her children and grandchildren.Karen was a friend to everyone she met. People would always remark about her pretty, sparkling eyes and her smile. She had the gift of being able to connect with everyone. In her first year of high school, she was chosen for the honor of “Miss Freshman” in Campbellsville, KY (pictured here). This comes as no surprise to those that remembered her smile and experienced it every morning for 20 years at her favorite restaurant, Toojay’s.In Karen’s retirement, she was an active member of the Kane Center Needlecraft Group. Karen was not only the expert knitter in the group, but she was a dear friend to each member, making them all feel valued.Ms. Karen, as she was known to many, was the branch manager for two public libraries the Port St. Lucie and the Zora Neale Hurston. Karen’s library career started at the Veterinary College at Texas A&M where she received many letters of commendation before leaving for the Kentucky Library at Western Kentucky University. It was here that Karen met some of her dearest friends and felt she was doing work that was appreciated.Karen was an extremely devoted mother to two daughters, Mary E. Kreis of PA and Susan L. Van Dyke of OR. Her pride and joy, her happiness later in life were her grandchildren, Summit and Sawyer, Susan’s sons in OR, and Viva, Mary’s daughter in PA. Her home was filled with photos of her grandchildren and her antiques. Her collection of butter molds and her research to learn about the history behind them all is beyond words.Born on December 13, 1938, Karen was raised primarily by her mother, Kathleen Kirkland Bridges, with her two siblings. Her most memorable experience was a trip she made to England on the Queen Elizabeth to study at Cambridge College and the University of London at only 18 years of age. Karen then went on to graduate from Hope College in MI and earned a master’s degree in Library Science from Western Michigan University.Karen and her daughters spent every holiday in the 1970s and 1980s at her parents’ home on Anna Maria Island, FL. This is where Karen asked to be laid to rest in the ocean she loved to see as she walked the beach in search of sand dollars and starfish every morning as the sun rose. Karen, you will always be a sun shining bright in the lives of everyone you touched. “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…I once was lost, but now am found.”

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