Karen M. Wenger, 70, of Elizabethtown, PA passed away on September 19 while visiting her daughter in Breckenridge, Colorado. Despite battling aggressive thyroid cancer for the past seven years, Karen's death was sudden and unexpected.
The daughter of Christian Wenger and Helen Heisey, Karen was a lifelong resident of Lancaster County. She graduated from Manheim Township High School in 1968 and Wooster College in Ohio in 1972 before receiving a Master's of Fine Arts from the University of Delaware.
Karen began her career as an adjunct art professor at Elizabethtown College. Later, she and her ex-husband, Greg, ran a successful screen-printing business for many years before Karen decided to become a nurse. She retired from Lancaster Rehabilitation Hospital in 2017.
Karen was a force who lived life to the fullest. Although she had stage 4 cancer, she didn't let it define her. Even after emergency surgery to install a tracheostomy tube last year, she went hiking in the Canadian Rockies, traveled to the Azores, spent weeks doing disaster relief in Florida with a Church of the Brethren volunteer group, engaged in environmental advocacy and watershed restoration, planted dozens of trees, and donated time and energy to a number of local non-profits. Those who loved her were inspired by her zest for life, love of nature, plant identifying prowess, and generosity of spirit.
Karen is survived by daughter, Jessica Hoover of Breckenridge, CO, son, Will Hoover of Philadelphia, PA, ex-husband, Greg Hoover of Elizabethtown, PA, brother, Ron Wenger and family of Madison, WI, family of her deceased brother, Bruce Wenger, of Framingham, MA, and cousins around the county and country. In addition, she leaves behind Dennis Hurley, companion of 3 years, and countless dear friends who gifted her with love, meals, rides to doctor's appointments, yard work, and more.
A memorial service is tentatively planned for April 2021 at Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren. Those wishing to honor Karen's memory are encouraged to make donations to Samara – The Center for Individual and Family Growth (PO Box 5494 Harrisburg, PA 17110) or the Sierra Club. Or, you could simply plant a tree.
A living tribute »