Cover photo for Karen B. Ayers's Obituary
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Karen B. Ayers

September 9, 1943 — April 12, 2024


Karen B. Ayers

Karen Backstrom Ayers of Jaffrey, NH, passed away in Keene, NH, on April 12, 2024. 

Karen was born on September 9, 1943, in Pittsburgh, PA, a daughter to Melvin Leslie and Margaret Keenan Backstrom. 

She spent her formative years in McKeesport, PA, where she attended St. Pius V School and St. Peter High School. After graduation, she attended Penn State University where she earned her bachelor's degree in secondary education. She quickly discovered that teaching was not her forte and eventually went on to work in human services. She went on to earn her master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from West Virginia University.

In 1972, she married Kenneth Ayers of Monessen, PA and in 1973 they moved to Jaffrey, NH. Ken and Karen had two children: Aaron and Ashley.

Karen spent her professional career working with families of children with significant special health care needs through the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and FLLAC Education Collaborative. Upon retirement, she devoted her time volunteering for various organizations in the Jaffrey and Peterborough area.

She was preceded in death by both of her parents, Melvin, and Margaret Backstrom, as well as her brother Kevin.

She will be forever remembered by her son, Aaron Ayers and his wife Meghan, and their daughters Anna and Emma, all of MA, her daughter, Ashley Kowitz, and her husband Jason of PA, two sisters, Marie Jo Thum of Mountain City, TN, and Celeste Hassler of Rossmoor, CA, their respective husbands, her wo brothers-in-law and four nephews, as well as many friends.

Family and friends are invited to calling hours on Thursday, April 18, 2024, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Cournoyer Funeral Home, 33 River Street, Jaffrey, NH, 03452. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated immediately following calling hours at 11:30 AM at St. Patrick Church, 89 Main Street, Jaffrey. Rev. Wilfred H. Deschamps will officiate.

Karen will be laid to rest privately at St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery in Versailles, PA.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Karen's name to St. Patrick Church, 87 Main St, Jaffrey, NH 03452, or The Jaffrey Civic Center, 40 Main St, Jaffrey, NH 03452, or the Fred Rogers Institute c/o St. Vincent College, 300 Fraser Purchase Rd, Latrobe, PA 15650.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen B. Ayers, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Thursday, April 18, 2024

9:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Cournoyer Funeral Home & Cremation Center

33 River Street, PO Box 486, Jaffrey, NH 03452

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, April 18, 2024

11:30am - 12:30 pm (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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