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Karen Josephson
In Memory of

Karen A. Josephson

1946 - 2017

Obituary of Karen Josephson

Karen is dancing with the angels!

Karen Annette Josephson, born July 16, 1946 to Edwin and Irene Roberts in Sioux Falls S. Dakota, died of complications following a massive infection at Yale New Haven Hospital on November 30, 2017.  She was the adored wife of Walter Josephson, an incredible mother to Andrew, Mike, and Anna, a gracious mother-in-law and dear friend to Jamye and Heidi, the beloved Pookah and Grandma to Wylie, Dallas, Teddy, and Oscar, a devoted sister to Karla, an amazing aunt to Jennifer, Rob and Amy, and a loving sister-in-law to Fred and Jim who survive her.  

Karen received a BA from the University of Iowa in English, a MA from Wesleyan University in Dance, a MA in Religion from the Pacific School of Religion, and a PhD in Religion and the Performing Arts from the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California at Berkeley.  She taught English at FDR High School in NY, Drama and Dance at Choate Rosemary Hall, and Religion at Sacred Heart University.

Karen met Walter at college, they fell in love, and decided to build a life together.  They had no idea just how wonderful the next almost 50 years would be. June would have been their 50th wedding anniversary.  Karen loved being a wife and a mother.  Her children have many warm memories of growing up in a house full of adventure, cookies, and unconditional love.  Her grandchildren adored her and they will always remember her reading to them, and how much fun they had during visits.

As an Entertainer and Artist, Karen delighted in storytelling, dancing, and clowning as the lovable “Palanquin.”  Her dancing lifted the spirits of anyone watching, and she taught our souls to be free and soar.  Karen was born to devoted parents who were both deaf, and she always enjoyed sharing her natural skills and abilities for sign language interpretation on the stage, and as an educator.  As a feminist and activist, Karen supported many worthy causes, and she expects us to carry on the work necessary on behalf of women, artists, and those less fortunate than we, in particular.  As a woman, she inspired everyone who knew her, and she accomplished at least 98 years of greatness in only 71 short years.

When not involved in education, the arts, or running a family, Karen loved gardening, sewing, cooking, reading, painting, and writing.  She authored a book of poems, and the cookbook “Seasons of a Family Table”.  At the time of her death, she was working on “Chilmark,” a book chronicling a time on Martha’s Vineyard when a substantial percentage of the residents were deaf.  

She was the founder of Random Dance Company, the founder of Parabolani Players theatre group, and she was the most beloved Director ever for twelve seasons of children at the Tabor Arts Center.  Some of the organizations that were fortunate enough to receive her time, talents and wisdom include the Long Wharf Theatre, the Yale Rep, the National Theatre of the Deaf, the Sacred Dance Guild International, and the CT Storytelling Center.  

Her constant energy and creativity amazed us all.  May we dance together in her honor, and celebrate a beautiful life.

A Celebration of Karen’s Life will take place at the Carousel at Light House Point Park, 2 Lighthouse Rd., New Haven, CT 06512 on Sunday, June 17, 2018 at 3:00 PM.

Memorial Contributions in Karen’s honor may be made to:

Sacred Dance Guild,  or

CT Storytelling Center,

We would love for you to share your favorite memories of Karen in the sharing section.