The Rev. Dr. Karen Stroup
The Reverend Doctor Karen Leigh Stroup, age 54, died unexpectedly at her home in Jonesborough, TN, on January 21, 2012.
She was born into a military family and lived in many places with her parents, Glenn and Betty Stroup, Jonesborough.
In addition to her parents, she is survived by two sisters and their husbands, Laura and Jeff Arnfield, Elizabethton, Diana and Joseph Heyd, Wyoming, OH; and her much loved five nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, John and Ann Stroup, of Johnson City, and Stuart and Gladys Robinson, of Castlewood, VA.
Reverend Stroup was a retired minster of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ. She was a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, the Lexington Theological Seminary and the Graduate School of Vanderbilt University with a PhD in Psychology and Religion. She was ordained as a minister immediately after her graduation from Lexington Theological Seminary.
Throughout her life, she was deeply involved in efforts to help others. After graduation from UNC, she worked as a secretary at the Chapel of the Cross church in Falls Church, VA, and then became Executive Director of a nonprofit organization called My Friend's House in Dunn Loring, VA, which offered support to children grieving over the loss of one or both parents.
While earning her Master's Degree at LTS, she served as part time Associate Minster for Christian Education for the First Christian Church, Winchester, KY, and as the Pastor of Cropper Christian Church in Pleasureville, KY.
After graduation and ordination, she was the Executive Director of Project Word, Fairfax, VA, a nonprofit organization which served people with physical disabilities. While in this position, she was offered a scholarship to Vanderbilt University.
She had finished her class work for her Ph.D. when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After her first regimen of radiation and chemotherapy, it was determined that the cancer had spread and she underwent a second round of chemotherapy and radiation. The experimental drugs that she was given at the Vanderbilt Cancer Center worked, and she was able to complete her college work and be awarded her Ph.D.
After graduation, she became the minster of the Central Christian Church in Springfield, TN. She then worked as a Senior Lecturer at Vanderbilt University, while also serving as an Interim Minister at the Eastwood Christian Church, Nashville.
She then became the manager of patient advocacy at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, where she helped hundreds of cancer patients cope with their disease and treatment. However, when the position was ended, she entered into full retirement in Jonesborough, where she moved to be near her family.
Reverend Stroup served on many academic committees and study groups during her career, including as a Trustee of the Disciples of Christ Historical Society and the Robertson County Board of the American Cancer Society. She was recognized as one of the experts on the meanings and lessons of The Jim Jones Jonestown disaster.
She was the author or co-author of a number of publications, including the book "Speak the Language of Healing," in 1999, which dealt with the breast cancer experiences of four very different women. She and the other authors were awarded the "Best Book in Health and Medicine" by the Independent Publishers Organization. She also wrote a book of daily meditations for women, "Don't Gift-Wrap the Garbage," Ave Maria Press, in 2002.
The funeral service will be conducted at 2:00 P.M. Friday, January 27, 2012, from the East Chapel of Appalachian Funeral Home with Reverend Sharyn Dowd, of Decatur, GA, officiating.
The family will receive friends Friday from 1:00 until 2:00 P.M. in the Parlor of the funeral home.
In accord with Rev. Stroup's wishes, she will be cremated and her ashes scattered in Hawaii where she lived in her youth.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Lexington Theological Seminary Ministers' Education Fund are requested in her memory, 631 South Limestone, Lexington, KY 40508, or www.lextheo.edu/donations.
Online condolences may be made online at www.appfh.net.
Appalachian Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 800 E. Watauga Ave., is serving the Stroup family. (423) 928-6111.
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