Word has been received of the April 13, 2020, death of Karen Harper, award-winning novelist and a long-time member of Grace Polaris Church, Westerville, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor). Her death came a week after her 75th birthday. She had been battling pancreatic cancer.
Karen, a prolific writer, was featured in the November-December 2006 issue of FGBC World, the predecessor publication to GraceConnect. (See Interesting Grace Brethren People — Novelist ‘Still Feels Like a Teacher’.)
Her final book, a sequel to Deep in the Alaskan Woods, will be released later this month. It is titled, Under the Alaskan Ice, according to her Facebook page.
“Karen was well esteemed and respected at Grace for her gracious and kind spirit, for her care for her husband, Don, for her joy among our church family, and her love of writing and ministry to many through her books. She and Don were faithful attenders for many years up to a couple months before her death,” recalled Tim Waggoner, care pastor at Grace Polaris, who officiated at a private graveside service for her with her brother Jim Kurt and his family. “Don was declining physically and dealing with dementia at the time of her death.” He survives, along with her brother and family.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Karen lived most of her adult life in Columbus, teaching English in high school and college until she turned to a full-time writing career in the 1980s, according to the website, ohioana.org. She became the prolific and award-winning author of more than sixty novels, many of them New York Times and USA Today best-sellers. But Karen was more than that. She was warm, caring, and generous to her author colleagues and her legion of fans, who loved her books and who she loved meeting at events like the Ohioana Book Festival, Books by the Banks, and the Buckeye Book Fair.