Karen Diane (Kunde) Gardner, 76, beloved wife of Robert W. Gardner, passed away peacefully on March 24, 2020, at her home in Oxford. She was born November 17, 1943, in Waterbury, Conn., daughter of the late Norman Edward Kunde and Dorothy Kelsey Kunde.
Karen and Bob moved to Fairview at Oxford Greens in 2014 after raising their three children in Newtown, a town they called home for more than 40 years. Karen immersed herself in her new community, becoming an active member and later vice president and president of the Women’s Club. She enjoyed swimming and water aerobics with her friends, social occasions at the clubhouse, reading on her deck, gardening, and she never declined a game of mahjong. Most Wednesday mornings she could be found at My Place Restaurant in Newtown sharing laughs with friends.
Karen was very active in her parish, Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown, where she taught Sunday School and was a member of the Mission and Outreach Commission and Pastoral Care Commission. She was the former Board Chair of Trinity Day School and with other parishioners volunteered at Dorothy Day Hospitality House in Danbury. She also drove for Meals on Wheels.
Having a good time was always Karen’s priority, and traveling was her true passion. She and Bob enjoyed cruising with friends and they visited virtually every corner of the globe from Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji to Europe, Alaska, and the Caribbean. For 16 years she and Bob maintained a second home in Brewster, Mass., on Cape Cod, where they delighted in spending warm summer days with family and friends. One of Karen’s favorite activities was to walk her Sea Pines Beach in Brewster with her seven grandchildren looking for sea glass and other ocean treasures.
Karen graduated from the former Woodbury High School in Woodbury and from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass. She spent 25 years teaching between Duxbury High School in Massachusetts, Ridgefield High School, and, after taking several years off to raise her children, Newtown Middle School.
Besides her husband, Bob, of 52 years, Karen is survived by her three children: son Christopher and wife, Kathleen, of Newtown; son Dr Timothy and wife, Jo Ellen, of Norwich, Vt.; and daughter Sarah Bettez and husband, Craig, of Danville, N.H. She is also survived by her seven grandchildren, her “darlings” as she called them: Andrew and Caroline of Newtown; Matthew, Jack, and Hannah of Norwich, Vt.; and Kate and Jackie of Danville, N.H. Her sisters, Norma Jean Taylor of Woodbury and Dorothy Kay Pierce of Middlebury, also survive her.
Karen was a loving wife, cherished mother and grandmother, and devoted friend, and she will be missed by all who surrounded her with love. She has asked, quite appropriately, that all family and friends remember her with a smile.
A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church at a future date. Honan Funeral Home of Newtown has been entrusted with the arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Dorothy Day Hospitality House, P.O. Box 922, Danbury CT 06813, or to a scholarship fund of one’s choice.
To leave a message of remembrance, visit the Honan Funeral Home website at honanfh.com.