On Friday, February 12, 2021, Karen Corbett Spangler, devoted wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, passed away at the age of 74.
Karen was born December 2, 1946 in Girard, Ohio to Michael and Loretta Corbett. She remained in Girard throughout her childhood, where she painted and danced through the town with her sister, Marcia Corbett, and her best friend for life, Carolyn Koppel Pitman. She received her BA in English from the University of Mount Union in 1968 and moved to Pittsburgh, PA to begin her teaching career. On August 26, 1969 she married her husband of 52 years, David Lurting Spangler. After a few years of teaching, Karen pursued and received her Registered Nursing degree from Allegheny County Community College, and from then on she devoted her life to nurturing and taking care of others.
In Karen’s professional life she worked as nurse in several settings, but the place she felt her calling was the emergency room. When she and her family moved to Williamsburg, VA in the mid 80’s, Karen decided to blend her training as a teacher and her gift of being an amazing nurse, and started teaching a nursing program at Lafayette High School. Karen loved teaching and mentoring her students; her passion and energy for nursing has been transferred to many amazing students and colleagues that will continue to be harnessed into caring for others. Karen and David lived in several locations throughout their marriage, but they always knew that they would return to Whitefish, MT in retirement, and they did so in 2006.
Karen not only dedicated her professional life to caring for others, but did so with her family and friends as well. She and David selflessly raised their two daughters, Sarah and Emily, teaching them that they should always love unconditionally, cherish all moments with family and friends, and that giving unto others is what life is all about. Karen’s warm and welcoming smile was her signature that will never be forgotten by those who loved her. Karen’s door was permanently open and there was always an extra spot at the kitchen table for family and friends. The relationships that were built and cultivated as part of Karen’s open-door policy are solid like no others. Karen had a love for the outdoors and in her retirement enjoyed nothing more than a day filled with hiking with her family or friends, sitting by the lake devouring a good book, canoeing with the ladies, and just drinking in the beautiful Montana sky. Her love of dance continued throughout her life, and those that loved her will never be able to hear “Proud Mary” without thinking of her. She looked forward to her trips back east to spend time with her four amazing grandchildren, cheering them on in all their endeavors.
Karen is survived by her husband, David, her daughters, Sarah and Emily (and husband Eric Murphy), her grandchildren Jacob, Michal, Emma and Emerson, her sister Marcia and brother in-law Michael Silverstein, her brother and sister in-law Scott and Sharon Spangler, her nieces and nephew Lauren, Kaelyn, Erin and Brett, and several cousins. In addition to her biological family, Karen is survived by an amazing bouquet of friends who she loved unconditionally.
A memorial service will be held to celebrate Karen’s life at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Glacier National Park National Park Conservancy Endowment Fund through Whitefish Community Foundation (https://whitefishcommunityfoundation.org/).
Buffalo Hill Funeral Home is caring for the family.
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