It was with shock and dismay that we learned of Karen Larkin’s passing. Karen passed away on Saturday, June 11th, 2022. She was a good friend to many of us personally and to Mid-America Mensa (MAM). Her support for MAM goes back many years including serving as: Scholarship Chair, Day Trip SIG, Testing Coordinator, Member-at-Large, Young M Coordinator, 1st Vice President, LocSec, and KCPT Volunteer Coordinator. Karen was an avid reader, and she also organized the Book Lovers SIG for Mid-America Mensa. For a while, Karen was the head Proctor for MAM and as Mension editor Diana Dyer recently recalled:
“Karen was the first card-carrying Mensan I had ever met. The stars lined up just right in 1985 when I decided to see if I could join Mensa, when Karen was then a Proctor. I called, she answered. We had a great multi-faceted conversation about shoes and ships and sealing wax and cabbages and kings, but she couldn’t find a date to test that was compatible with my work schedule. Karen offered to let me come to her home (which is no longer allowed) to test on a Sunday in July. Caring and always going the extra mile. That’s just how she was.” ~ Diana Dyer
Like Diana, when Tim Larkin decided in 1990 to “try out” for Mensa, Karen proctored his test. Fortunately for Tim, it seems Karen also thought it fortunate. When Tim did join six months later Karen most definitely remembered him. Tim hoped by joining Mensa he would find a like-minded person with whom he might develop a relationship and maybe build a life. Those dreams began to come true for him when he volunteered to help with the 1991 AG in Kansas City. Diana Dyer pointed him in Karen’s direction and, as Tim says, “Thank you to Diana with all my heart for doing that!!” Karen was the light of Tim’s life and a wonderful friend, partner, and lover for 31 fantastic years – 29 of which were after he conned her into marrying him.
Karen was born in KCK in 1946 and graduated from Wyandotte High School in 1963. She had graduated from Kansas State Teachers College – which is now Emporia State University – in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in Education. She later went on with continuing her formal learning and earned a master’s degree in Gifted Education. Karen was a teacher starting with History and Social Studies in the Shawnee Mission School District where she devoted 33 years of her life to her students. As a high school teacher, Karen was a natural fit to be Young M Coordinator too. She loved her job, she loved her students, and they loved her back, keeping in touch over the years.
Karen passed away after a brief bout with brain cancer – most likely metastasized breast cancer she survived from 22 years earlier. She is survived by her brother Richard Conklin and his wife Elaine, and her husband Tim. Rest in peace, my Sweet Karen! Karen’s life will be celebrated in late summer 2022.