Karen A. (Young) Holt, 72, of Orlando, FL, passed away on Tuesday May 10, 2022, after battling a multitude of medical issues for more than ten years. Born October 23, 1949, she was the daughter of Rexford V. Young and Linia V. Young, who preceded her in death. Karen was incredibly proud of her father, a career Army man whose numerous duty station assignments allowed Karen to see the world, including Waltham, MA, where Karen was born.
The family was stationed in West Germany from 1954 to 1956 where Karen bicycled to visit castles. From 1956 to 1960 they were stationed at Fort Ord, CA, on the Monterey seaside where the family resided in Pacific Grove, CA, on Ocean View Blvd right on the water. While living there, Karen’s favorite thing was attending the Monarch Butterfly Parade.
She would then return to West Germany from 1960 to 1963, go back stateside to Fort Hood in Killeen, TX, and finally Fort Sill in Lawton, OK, where Karen graduated from High School and developed her love for Oklahoma where she lived and taught for most of her life.
Karen earned her BA in English at Southwestern University in Weatherford, OK, and a Master of English at Oklahoma State University becoming a lifelong Cowboy. This set the stage for a wonderful career in education.
Karen began teaching in 1971 and spent the majority of her career at Rose State College (OKC) beginning in 1987 and retiring in 2010. She found her greatest joy in the classroom teaching English, philosophy, humanities, and poetry writing, believing that “Indeed, to teach is to live a life filled with hope.”
While at RSC, she coordinated the annual student poetry reading and was a co-founder of Poetry at Rose, showcasing some of Oklahoma’s best poets. She coordinated the James Axley Creative Writing Awards and competition from their inception, and both led and attended poetry workshops. She was particularly honored to have been chosen to participate in a weekend workshop led by one of her favorite poets Li-Young Lee.
She was invited to present her poetry and insights to Oklahoma’s principals of A+ schools, who use arts integration to teach core curriculum, something particularly close to her heart after having served as the Coordinator of Putnam City’s Arts in Education program from 1985 to 87.
Karen won the Sister Madeleine Kisner Poetry Prize from Newman University, was named Professor of the Year by Phi Theta Kappa, won the Excellence in Teaching Award, was named Outstanding Honors Mentor at Rose State College five times, and had several poems published.
Karen adored political discourse, big mugs of hot chocolate, getting lost while daydreaming, dancing, and books, books, books.
Karen is survived by her brother, Vernon Young, and his wife, Barbara, of Rindge, NH; three nephews: Jeremy Young and his wife, Holly, of Hickman, NB, Colby Young and his wife, Shirley, of Concord, MA, and Trevor Young and his wife, Jenna, of Rindge, NH; a niece, Jessica Faustina and her husband, Dan, of Eagle, ID, and a niece-at-heart, Grace Palmer of Amherst, NH. She was delighted to have been a great aunt to eight grand nephews and nieces. Karen also leaves behind innumerable friends and countless students who were inspired by her teaching and her words. Nothing loved is ever lost.
A Calling Hour will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2022, from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at the Cournoyer Funeral Home, 33 River Street, Jaffrey, NH 03452.
A Funeral Liturgy Service will immediately follow calling hours at 11:00am in the funeral home chapel. Rev. Wilfred Deschamps, Pastor of Saint Patrick Church in Jaffrey will be the Celebrant. Burial will follow at Hillside Cemetery in Rindge.