Obituary of Karen J. Lessner
Karen Lessner was born in Schenectady, New York, to Sidney and Ida Lessner. She earned both bachelors and masters degrees in education and taught various grades near Boston. Tiring of New England winters, she moved to the Atlanta area where she had a long career teaching primarily 4th grade. Karen was a popular teacher who made a difference in the lives of many children. Parents petitioned principals to get their kids in her classes, and her colleagues were inspired by her dedication, energy, commitment, and creativity. Many students shared with her that she was their all-time favorite teacher. They came back years later to visit, and some were delighted when she became the favorite teacher of their children! She retired in 1995 after a 30-year career. In retirement Karen became a prolific stained glass artist. Her pieces grace the homes of family and friends, and her beautiful picture frames turned admirers into customers. After retiring from teaching, Karen spent extended periods of time in Florida helping to attend to her ailing father. After her father’s death, she moved in with her mother and eventually became Ida’s primary caregiver. She and her mother enjoyed each other’s companionship. Karen moved to Iowa City in 2012 to be closer to family. She enjoyed family gatherings and the rich cultural life of a major university community. She was an avid and skillful bridge player. She was a beloved and involved aunt to her niece and nephew, Mari and Jordan; a cherished great aunt to Mari’s children, Kole and Sy; and a treasured adopted “aunt” to two second cousins, Erin and Rebecca, all of whom she helped to nurture as children and support into adulthood. Her memory will be a blessing to them as well as to her sister, Janet, and brother-in-law, Craig, to Mari’s husband, Brian, to Karen’s extended family, Phoebe, Andy, Dexter, and Isaak, and to her many cousins and friends. Karen lived a full and satisfying life, and she faced the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease with courage and grace. She died on February 1, 2022.