Minner Life Sketch
Minner was born in St. Joseph, Michigan, September 11, 1977, to
Ray and Vida Welch Minner. She was the second in a family of four
daughters, joining her older sister, Jennifer, and later welcoming
her younger sisters, Megan and Katie.
school education began at Mile High Academy in Denver, Colorado,
but by third grade she had moved to Maryland, and the rest of her
grade school years were at the Frederick Seventh-day Adventist School.
loved school. She and her sisters even pretended to be Laura Ingalls
and her students at the school in Little House on the Prairie. Her
love of school was always reflected in her grades.
high school right here at Highland View Academy. She involved herself
in the life of HVA with passion, and was elected vice president
of her freshman and sophomore classes, secretary of her junior class,
and pastor of her senior class. She was active in Highlanders, the
band, and bell choir, and at her graduation in 1996 she received
the bell choir's Student of the Year award.
Southern Adventist University to pursue her degree in elementary
education, interrupting her stay at Southern to serve as a student
missionary on the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia. She taught fourth
grade at the mission school there from August 1999 to May 2000.
Her crisis management
skills were put to the test from time to time in Pohnpei, including
the day a beloved campus dog was shot and and sought refuge in her
classroom where he then lay down and died right in front of her
with children extended beyond the classroom. For four summers she
worked on the staff at Mount Aetna Youth Camp. The campers in her
cabin loved her. Three of them made the trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania,
to see her last Wednesday.
In May 2001,
just six months ago, she graduated cum laude from Southern Adventist
University with her bachelor's degree in elementary ed. She began
as a professional teacher in August at Beltsville Adventist School
in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, teaching English and math
to the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades.
But around that
same time, just as she was beginning a promising career, she started
to experience symptoms of a mysterious illness. She struggled gamely
at the onset of the disease to continue teaching, battling pain
and extreme fatigue. Finally, she became so ill she was hospitalized
four times over a two-week period. It was during this fourth hospital
stay in Hagerstown that her condition suddenly became critical and
she was airlifted to Hershey Medical Center, the teaching hospital
for Penn State University's College of Medicine.
Over the next
three and half weeks as her condition steadily deteriorated, she
survived three emergency surgeries, and some of the finest medical
minds in the country were consulted in an attempt to diagnose and
treat her illness. Inquiries were made to the National Institutes
of Health, Johns Hopkins University, and other world renowned centers
of medical research to no avail. The experts did not know why she
In her last
few days, Karen became aware that she would have to leave us for
a while. She was unafraid. She was surrounded by love, and she knew
it. She was cared for by a heavenly Father who loves her more than
we ever could, and she knew it.
of support Karen and her family received in the last few days of
her life–the dozens of friends who came to Hershey and spent whole
nights in the waiting room and who gathered by her bedside to pray
and sing to her-the hundreds of people around the world who were
praying and e-mailing us their support–is made even more powerful
by the fact that Karen was aware of it all. She saw and focused
on every single visitor until the last ten hours. She was shown
the e-mails, she was told about the prayers. She knew. She knew.
She passed to
her rest on Thursday, November 8, 2001, and now she waits to hear
the voice of Jesus.
She is survived
by her mother, Vida Okuno, her father and stepmother, Ray and Laurie
Redmer Minner, her sisters, Jennifer Payne, Megan Minner, and Katie
Minner, her brother-in-law, Jason Payne, her grandparents, Dorothy
Minner, and Al and Cleora Welch, other relatives in her extended
family, and an untold number of friends.
Even so, come,
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