“This song has a good beat. I can dance to that.” ~ Karen Mader
Karen Anita Mader (née Ripley) was a caring wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. She led a life full of joy, enthusiasm, and endless positivity. She left this world too soon on December 30, 2022 at age 78, after two weeks in palliative care surrounded by her husband Dennis and her four children, Robert, Michelle (Travis), Michael, and Marianne (Andy). They will continue to honour her legacy by continuing to see the positive in life. She will be forever missed by her siblings Doug (Sue), Mary Ellen (Al), Joyce (Glenn), and her Aunt Marguerite, Dennis’ sisters Colleen (Chris) and Betty Ann, six loving grandchildren – Ella, Morgan, Rory, Zhen, Téa, and Bailey, 16 nieces and nephews, 12 great nieces and nephews. Predeceased by her parents Gertrude (née Loosemore) and Eugene Ripley, and siblings Jeanne, Clifford, Robert, Roberta, and Brenda.
Karen grew up with her siblings in a small farming town in southern Ontario. After high school, Karen completed a nursing degree at Nightingale School of Nursing. Soon after she met the love of her life working at a summer camp in Quebec – she was 23 years old and he was 24. Karen and Dennis were together for 55 wonderful years. In Karen’s own words: “When we were first married, we both thought we were too young and didn’t know enough to have children. But, the wonderful thing about being young, is that you “grow up with” your children and they teach you as much as you teach them.”
Always up for adventure – from a 5-week honeymoon with Dennis driving across Canada and the USA in their Volkswagen beetle, to later doing a similar coast-to-coast 5-week trip packing their family of 6 into a station wagon (kids ages 10, 10, 13, 15!), and of course the frequent trips to Spondo, their camp behind Mahone Bay, and even paragliding in the Swiss alps at age 65. Yes, Karen lived life to the fullest.
Karen’s enthusiasm for life and infinite energy extended into her career, her friendships, and her innumerable hobbies. She was a life-long learner having completed her Master’s degree while helping to rear four young children, garnering a tourism certificate after she retired from nursing, taking numerous courses through PEI’s Seniors College, and she most recently she had a streak of 624 days learning French with her sister Mary Ellen on Duolingo!
As a nurse, a manager, and eventually as the Director of Nursing at Dartmouth General Hospital in Nova Scotia, she brought out the best in staff members. Colleagues remember her as a great nurse and a kind and empathetic manager. Her approach to life was to listen with kindness, laugh with abandon, and shared generously always. She made time for people to listen, help, and to share in life’s joys and sorrows.
For most of her married life, she lived near the ocean in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. She was drawn to the ocean scenery. She loved to feel the sand between her toes, to smell the ocean breezes, and to hear the tumbling waves lap against the shore.
“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide,
Is a wild call and a clear call that can not be denied”
~ from Karen’s favourite poem “Sea Fever ” by John Mansfield.
Karen’s wishes were to have a Celebration of Life and in true Karen/Mom/Nana K fashion we’ll have a joyous party with “a good beat” on Saturday, April 15, 2023 in PEI. Details will be shared closer to the date. In the meantime, you can share your memories of Karen and read her full obituary on her online memorial site at www.karenmader.com
We request that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Island Nature Trust https://islandnaturetrust.ca/