Karen grew up in Rochester, New York and earned her BA in Art Education at LIU. After graduating in 1971, Karen married and moved to New Jersey where she began teaching art in the Byram Township Schools. In addition to the public schools, Karen also began teaching with Challenges, a gifted, nonprofit program in Rockaway. Besides being their art instructor, Karen became their vice president. While taking a break from the public schools to care for her two babies, Karen continued to teach in people’s homes as well as with the gifted classes.
In 1984, Karen’s husband, Steve, died suddenly, leaving her with two young daughters. Karen continued teaching art in various programs as well as in her home. She married her husband, Don, in 1985. They combined their families and raised five children together. Together, Karen and Don became co-facilitators at “Living with Cancer,” a bereavement group connected with St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville. They expanded their home to include an art school and as the art classes continued, so did Karen’s involvement in her community. She became co-chairperson of a local group, RRATH which protected the homeowners on Mooney Mountain from a high density development that was precariously close to a super fund site. Upon their fifth child graduating from high school, in 2003, Karen and Don moved to Blairstown to fulfill a life-long dream of having a small horse farm in the countryside.
Karen now owns and operates “Blaze ‘N Saddles Ranch” and teaches local children at Gallery 23 on Main Street in Blairstown through her art school, Art Magic. She created “Sweet Jane’s”, division of Art Magic in honor of her late mother, Jane, who inspired Karen to teach at her assisted living several years ago. She is also an active member of the gallery, selling her dioramas and “clayaramas”. Karen volunteers with Sussex County’s DASI and is involved with NOW and Action Together in Warren and Sussex County. She teaches children all over Warren, Morris and Sussex County as well as senior citizens at three assisted living facilities. When not doing art, attending a myriad of meetings, horseback riding or teaching, Karen may be found with her nine grandchildren.