Karen Louise Etheridge, age 76, of St. Charles, MO passed away June 1, 2018. Karen was born March 17, 1942 in Kirksville, MO to the late Paul and Mabel Van Meter. As a child, she grew up on the family farm raising Black Angus cattle, participated in 4H, enjoyed spending time with her grandmother, and attended a one-room school. Karen graduated from Queen City High School where she participated in softball, cheerleading, band, chorus, yearbook, newspaper, and her favorite sport of basketball. Karen went on to attend Northeast Missouri State Teachers College (Truman State University) and Loyola University, Los Angeles where she graduated magna cum laude with a BS in Education and MA in English respectively. She taught English to high school and middle school students in the Fort Zumwalt school district and at Living Word Christian School. Her favorite teaching experience was teaching GED classes in a federal prison and seeing those she taught there better themselves daily. She loved to joke that the men quickly grasped the metric system.
Karen was united in marriage on December 20, 1986 to George Wallace “Wally” Etheridge at Immanuel Baptist Church in St. Charles, MO. For a short time, they lived in Florida before returning to family in Missouri. They loved to travel and spend time with their family and friends. Together, they saw many places such as Holland, Germany, Luxembourg, and France, drove the Alaskan Highway, enjoyed attending church, and celebrated anniversaries by going out to eat. They were devoted and loving to each other for 31 years.
Karen accepted Christ on April 26, 1977 at 35 years of age while at home. Her favorite verse was Philippians 1:6 and this is the first verse that she read after she became a Christian. Karen lived a life filled with love and care for others. She will be remembered as compassionate, fun to be with, and invested in the lives of her family and friends. Surviving cancer twice herself, the death of a husband and son, and her father’s development of Alzheimer’s, she believed that opportunities in life can come from crises and because of this strived to be a supporter, listener, and encourager to others.
Karen demonstrated her love for Christ and people through involvement in multiple organizations and initiatives including: Stephens Ministry mentor to women in crisis, Homebound Ministry coordinator, missionary to Japan teaching the Bible and English, Gideon International Auxiliary member, Stonecroft Ministries regional speaker and trainer, Bible Study Fellowship discussion leader, Precept Ministries International teacher, Prayer Room volunteer, and chaired efforts to aid the resettlement of a Laotian family in San Jose.
Karen, loving wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, and friend, is preceded in death by her parents Paul and Mabel Van Meter, husband Richard “Dick” Sharp, and son Michael Lee Sharp. She is survived by her husband Wally; son Paul and wife Linda Sharp; daughter-in-law Kristin and husband Scott McDowell; stepdaughter Lisa Etheridge and Andy Boyd; stepson James Etheridge; grandchildren Richard, Lindsey, and Joy Sharp, Sarah and husband Alex Hunt, Jenna and husband Brent Baughman, David and wife Casey Sharp, John Sharp, Katie Walkenhorst and Chris Doxey, and Felicia and husband Brian Mooney; great-grandchildren Jack and Charlie Hunt, and Carter and Trent Mooney; brother Gary and wife Carla Van Meter; nephews Ryan, Garrett and wife Casey Van Meter; great-nieces Lily and Lyla Van Meter; and numerous nieces, nephews and friends.
Visitation will be held 5:00-8:00 PM, Wednesday, June 6, at Newcomers Funeral and Cremations, 837 Mid Rivers Mall Drive, St. Peters, MO. Funeral service will begin at 9:00 AM with a short visitation followed by a service at 10:00 AM, Thursday, June 7, at First Baptist Church St. Charles, 2701 Muegge Rd, St. Charles, MO. Interment will be at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
Live stream available at http://www.1stcharles.org/live-streaming/ (central time 10:00 am)
Memorial contributions in honor of Karen can be made to The Gideons International, St. Charles Camp. Donate at https://www2.gideons.org/ or The Gideons International, P.O. Box 276, St. Charles, MO 63302. To leave a message for the family online, please visit www.NewcomerStLouis.com.