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Karen Penner Bacus
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Birth: Jul. 20, 1939
Mitchell County
Kansas, USA
Death: Nov. 23, 1994
Porter County
Indiana, USA

Karen Bacus, 55, champion for women's equal rights

HOBART - During the summer of '79, she marched on Washington, D.C., for women's equal rights, lobbied the state of Indiana to try and gain ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and was one of the founders of the Indiana chapter of the National Organization for Women.

Throughout her lifetime, Purdue Calumet Associate Professor of Communications, Dr. Karen Penner Bacus, 55, who died Nov. 23 after a nine-year battle with cancer, continued to champion for women's rights.

Glen Bacus, husband of Dr. Bacus, said his wife was very active in encouraging women to shed stereotype roles.

"She believed that nontraditional occupations, like becoming an electrician or a construction worker, were definite alternatives for women to consider," he said.

Charlotte Conjelko, community awareness director of the Caring Place in Valparaiso, a shelter for battered women, recalled being a student in a "Rhetoric of Women's Rights" class at Purdue Calumet, taught by Dr. Bacus.

Describing Dr. Bacus as an exemplary professor, Conjelko said, "She really raised our consciousness when it came to women's issues. She opened our eyes to women's rights and inspired us to reach our human potential."

Conjelko added that Dr. Bacus was a person "who will be missed because she made the difference in the community."

Dr. Glenn Robinson, a friend and colleague for 23 years at Purdue Calumet, reminisced that he never met an individual "as dedicated to her profession as Karen was.

"Karen's teaching career was an extension of her life, and she loved every minute of it," he said.

Glen Bacus said that his wife's teaching career meant so much to her that even when she went through bouts of chemotherapy, "she still managed to get to her classes. She never wanted to miss a day with her students."

John Coffey, a math professor at PUC and president of the board of trustees at Unitarian Church in Hobart, remembers Dr. Bacus as a member of the congregation who "was very involved and contributed so much to our church."

Coffey said Dr. Bacus was elected to serve on the "Senate Committee" - a governing body that coordinated church programs and services. He reflected on Dr. Bacus' life and noted that the upcoming holidays won't be the same without her.

"The holidays were her favorite time of year," Coffey said. "Although she was in failing health, she had accepted the reality of her condition, and functioned in spite of it. She had looked forward to being a part of the
holiday celebration."

Glen Bacus said his wife's memory will be kept alive, via a scholarship fund in her name for "Returning Women Students" at Purdue Calumet University.

Memorial tributes may be made to: the Dr. Karen Bacus Scholarship Fund at Purdue Calumet Campus, Hammond, Ind. 46323, or to the Visiting Nurses Foundation; Dr. Karen Bacus Fund, 201 W. 89th Ave., Merrillville, Ind. 46410.

Formerly of Beloit, Kan., Karen was an associate professor at Purdue University, with 22 years of service. She received the "Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award" in 1986. She was a member of the Unitarian Church in Hobart and served on its board of trustees.

Dr. Bacus is survived by her husband, Glen, of Highland; brothers, Lester (Georgia) Penner of Santa Tresa, N.M., and William (Faith) Penner of Glendale, Ariz.

There will be a memorial service today at the Unitarian Church of Hobart, 497 Main St., with Nana Kratochvil officiating. Cremation at the Burns Funeral Crematory will precede the memorial service.

Interment of remains at the Furnessville Cemetery, Furnessville, Ind.

NWI Times - November 29, 1994

- - -

Dr. Karen Penner Bacus, 55, of Highland, passed away Nov. 23. Visitation 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the Burns Funeral Home, Merrillville/Crown Point. Memorial services at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Unitarian Church of Hobart, 497 Main St., Hobart. Interment at Furnessville Cemetery, Furnessville.

NWI Times - November 26, 1994
Family links: 
  Glen Everett Bacus (1938 - 2009)
Furnessville Cemetery
Porter County
Indiana, USA
Created by: Eva Hopkins
Record added: Feb 12, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 84896969
Karen <i>Penner</i> Bacus
Added by: Eva Hopkins
Karen <i>Penner</i> Bacus
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Added by: Laura Heckman
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