Karen Marie Hess, age 55, of Ellicott City, Maryland passed away on Saturday March 17th, 2018, due to congestive heart failure. She was preceded in death by her parents James and Jean Hess and her sister Kathy Tolopka.
Karen is survived by her husband Tin Van and her siblings, Karla Breland of Mississippi, Kenneth Hess, Sr. of Utah, Cindy Ballew of Iowa, Patty Burke of New Jersey, Robert Fraser of Japan, David Fraser of Colorado, her adopted mother Irma Hess of Iowa, many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends. Karen is greatly loved and immeasurably missed by everyone who ever interacted with her. She leaves behind two precious felines, Tia and Dewey.
Karen grew up in Dubuque, Iowa and graduated from Hempstead High School, where she was a member of the Honor Society and President of the Pep Club. She completed her Associates in Science degree at Northern Virginia Community College, her Bachelor of Science degree at Strayer University, and was pursuing her Master of Science degree at University of Maryland Baltimore Campus.
Karen served in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and USMC-Reserved as an Avionics Technician. She completed basic training in 1980 with Platoon 16B at Pariss Island, South Carolina. She was stationed at the Air Base El Toro, Texas. She earned the Staff Sergeant E-6 grade, a staff non-commissioned officer rank in April 1992.
Karen was recently awarded Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) in March this year. She was the Toastmaster of the Year 2009-2010. She was an active member of the Advancing Toastmaster Club in Catonsville, serving as the Vice President of Education (VPE).
Karen also enjoyed spreading her knowledge of Information Technology and Software Application. Karen's passion in life was to help others and to teach. She worked for the Howard County Government IT Department as the Lead Technical Trainer, where both of these passions of Public Speaking and Training could be realized.
The family will receive friends from all over at the Candle Light Funeral Home for a Celebration of Karen’s Life. The celebration will be held on Karen’s birthday, April 7th, 2018 at 2pm. Address is 1835 Frederick Road, Catonsville, MD 21228. Dress is formal. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Wounded Warrior Project
4899 Belfort Rd. Suite 300, Jacksonville FL 32256