Karen Kilpatrick Dudenhoeffer passed away peacefully in her home April 14, 2014, surrounded by as much love and light as anyone could ask for, and none less than she deserved.
Karen Virginia Kilpatrick was born June 23, 1949, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama to parents Albert Raymond Kilpatrick and Carole Virginia Mullins. She lived many different places during her life, including the southern California communities of Hermosa Beach, Running Springs, and San Diego. It was in Riverside, Calif. that she met and married her partner of nearly 45 years, Michael Joseph Dudenhoeffer, and welcomed daughters Melissa Beth and Jessica Erin into the world. However, it wasn't until she and her family moved to southern Oregon in 1984 that she knew she had finally found home. She soon fulfilled her dream of living in the charming historic community of Jacksonville, Ore. which she called home for 28 years. Many of these years were spent living in the dream home she and Mike designed and built together in the Jacksonville hills overlooking the beautiful Rogue Valley. During that time, Karen was actively involved in her community including working as a hospice volunteer, caring for a foster child, and serving on South Medford High School Senior Project panels. And, as if that wasn't enough, in her spare time Karen pursued a Bachelor's degree at Southern Oregon University, earning a 4.0 GPA and the honor of being placed on the Dean's List.
A loving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, Karen enjoyed nature, camping, hiking, beautiful views, a stiff drink, good company, and great conversation. After many years in the work force she was able to retire early and pursue her passion of creating her dream home, not only for her and Mike to enjoy, but to joyfully share with others. After Mike's retirement, Karen relished time spent with family and friends in their home-away-from home in San Felipe, Mexico. Throughout her life, Karen was a great partner-in-crime to those with whom she shared her many adventures and vied only with her husband for the title of Biggest Oregon Duck Fan.
In Karen's world, there were three characteristics of a perfect day: "air you can't feel, water you can't taste, and time that is entirely your own. She was endlessly grateful for the simple things and didn't cower when it came to speaking her truth, such as; relationships are hard work, love is not a Frank Sinatra song, people cannot always be whom we want them to be, and life is wrought with complications. However, Karen also believed that if you work hard, play fair, love well, and appreciate the moment, things have a way of working out in the end and that life is a precious gift. She taught this by example.
Upon discovering she had cancer, Karen expressed gratitude for the amazing life she had lived and declared that, from that moment on, every day was simply icing on the cake. When asked shortly before her passing if there was anything else she wished to do or see, Karen replied that there had been many things on her bucket list but that she had checked them all off already.
In the end, Karen did not believe she was fighting cancer, nor that she had "lost the battle. Rather, she concluded that her cancer journey was simply another chapter in the story of her life, one filled with amazing people, moments and life lessons she probably would not have experienced otherwise. Cancer was a teacher whose wisdom she chose to embrace. This included learning to accept the tremendous out pouring of love and the many blessings that followed her diagnosis as well as the difficulties. She faced the end of this life the same way she lived it: with honesty, grace, dignity, fierce love, and a handful of naughty jokes for good measure. In the end, she was simply grateful for the time she was given and welcomed the next adventure.
Karen's wit, kindness, humor, and compassion are carried on by the many people she loved, her husband, Mike; daughters, Jessica Insogna and Melissa McGuire; sons-in-law, Corey Insogna and Michael McGuire; granddaughters, Isabella, Grace, and Neve; mother, Carole Kilpatrick Baker; brothers, Brian and Craig Kilpatrick; as well as the many extended family members and "chosen" family who, luckily for us, know exactly who they are, as Karen never hesitated to show them how much she loved them and their numbers are far too numerous to list.
It has been said that there are two types of people in the world, those who seek out beautiful experiences and those who create them. In this life, Karen Kilpatrick Dudenhoeffer succeeded in doing both. Those whose lives she touched will be forever grateful.
Karen's family welcomes those wishing to attend to join them in a celebration of her life from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, May 31, 2014 at 967 Washburn Lane, Medford. They ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund at www.ocrf.org.