On Sunday, February 12, 2023, Karen Ruth Clark (nee Brown) of North Wales, loving wife and mother of two, passed away at age seventy-four. Karen was born on February 4th 1949, the first born child of Willard and Eileen Brown. She was the sister to David, Barbara, and Richard, growing up in Springfield, PA. Karen earned an associate degree in 1969 from Harcum Junior College and spent her working life as an English as a Second Language teacher. Always passionate about education, she served in Volunteers In Service To America after college, developing education and anti-poverty programs in Rochester, NY, where she met her future husband, John. But her real zeal for educational reform was demonstrated outside the classroom. Her efforts to provoke better educational policy decisions via her letters to the editor in local newspapers and her speeches at North Penn School Board meetings have left school board members traumatized to this day. She also would have appreciated this exercise, given how much it resembles homework.
Karen and John were married in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania in 1973 and were together until his death in 2011. Karen’s granddaughter Lily noted that “Nanny” was able to spend Valentines Day with “Pop” this year.
Karen was best known for her aversion to fun and extended family (in stark contrast the kindness and concern she showed to strangers), her inability to modulate the volume of voice, her performative political activism, fierce defense of her grandchildren’s wellbeing, and her oppositional spirit. She is survived by her two sons, Christopher and Scott, her daughters-in-law, Heather and Heather, along with her six grandchildren, Isabella, Grayson, Sebastian, Ava, Lily, and Jackson.
In remembrance, please consider planting something in your garden, but we know she’d also be thrilled if you would throw something away that you really don’t need anymore.