Vernon - Karen Terese Kren died peacefully at her home in Vernon, VT on Sunday morning, July 9, 2017, after a 6 month battle with pancreatic cancer. The family that she loved dearly was by her side when she passed.
Karen was born on October 12th, 1953 in Torrington, CT to father Herbert Van Alphen, 93, of Windsor, CT and Mary Van Alphen (Whitbeck) who predeceased her. She graduated from Windsor High School, and received an Associate’s degree from Manchester Community College, also in Connecticut.
She moved to the Brattleboro, VT area in 1973 where she met her husband-to-be, Richard “R.J.” Kren. They were married in 1975 at Saint Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, and moved to Vernon shortly thereafter. In Vernon, they built their forever home on 5 acres of beautiful land and raised their 3 children, Jeremy, Michael, and Allison.
Karen served as an auditor for the Town of Vernon for many years before taking a job in the admission office at Northfield Mount Hermon School. She served as a tenured member of the admission office for 21 years until her illness. She was exceptional at her job, but even better at loving her family. Stubborn and selfless to a fault, she perpetually put her family’s well-being above all else, even in her final days.
A healthy lifestyle was important to Karen; she was a meticulously healthy eater and spent any free time “getting her steps in” through aerobics or walking, albeit at a runner’s pace. Though she was a private person, she never hesitated to dance like no one was watching when given the chance, or on a few occasions, take the mic and sing karaoke much to the delighted bewilderment of her children.
Karen is survived by her husband and three children, her daughters-in-law Rebecca Kren (Dunham) and Leah Kren (Zodarecky), her granddaughter Teagan and grandson soon-to-be “Little Prince” Brayden, her father, and her brother John Van Alphen and sister-in-law Joanne Van Alphen (Marnicki).
The Liturgy of Christian Burial will be held at Saint Michael’s Catholic Church on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. Burial will follow in Tyler Cemetery in Vernon.
Friends may call at Atamaniuk Funeral Home on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., all are welcome.
A special thank you to Dr. Robert Tortolani, who went above and beyond his duties as a physician in caring for Karen over 43 years, and to the many generous souls who dropped off meals and sent well wishes during the difficult months. Flowers are welcome, as are donations to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 1500 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, www.pancan.org.