Karen Elaine (Alumbaugh) Simpson, 73, of Topeka, Kansas, beloved mother, sister, grandmother, and friend passed away on September 2, 2020. Karen was born on January 24, 1947 in Topeka, Kansas to Clarence (“Red”) and Geraldine (“Gerry”) Alumbaugh. Karen graduated from Topeka High School in 1965 and from Washburn University with a degree in English in 1969. While attending Washburn, Karen actively participated in the Alpha Phi sorority and met her future husband, Steven E. Simpson of Topeka, Kansas.
In December of 1970, Steve and Karen wed. They spent several years “on the road” with Steve’s baseball career, enjoying states such as Texas and Hawaii and making friends along the way. Steve and Karen were later blessed with two children, Ryan and Kelly.
Karen spent most of her career at Washburn University working in the Kinesiology Department, Career and Employment Services, and the English Department from which she retired in 2017. She enjoyed creating art, reading, watching TV shows such as Castle and Friends, decorating for Christmas, and buying special gifts for her family and friends. More than anything, she loved watching her three granddaughters grow and shine.
She spent many years happily attending band concerts, dance recitals, and gymnastics meets for “her girls” and loved watching shows, baking, coloring, painting, drinking Frappuccinos, and shopping with them.
Karen is survived by her two children, Ryan Simpson and his wife Tedi, Kelly Law and her husband Justin; sister Christine “Chris” Alumbaugh, and nephew Jeff Shappard and his wife Meg; three granddaughters, Emma Simpson, Abby Simpson, and Kherington Law; and grandniece and grandnephew, Miles and Juniper Shappard. She was preceded in death by husband Steve, father Clarence, and mother Geraldine.
Karen will lie in state from 9am-5pm Friday, September 4, 2020 at Penwell-Gabel Funeral Home, 1321 SW 10th Ave, Topeka, KS. Visitors are welcome, but family will not be present. Graveside services will be 10am Saturday, September 5, 2020 at Memorial Park Cemetery. Masks must be worn if attending the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38105.
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