Karen Anne Panczner (née Thomas), passed away surrounded by her loved ones on January 14, 2024 at the age of 60.
Born in Darby, PA in 1963, Karen was the daughter of Maryanne (née Goggin) and the late William Thomas.
Karen is survived by her loving husband of 34 years, John Erwin “Jack” Panczner; and two beautiful daughters, Anna and Elsa. She also leaves behind two clever cats, Oliver and Finn.
Karen attended Springfield High School, Class of ‘81, in Springfield, PA, and later graduated in 1990 with her bachelor's degree in accounting from Cabrini College. She worked as an accountant at the former Wyeth Pharmaceuticals for 15 years before adopting two children.
She and Jack traveled to Changsha, China in 2001 to adopt Anna. In 2003, they returned to China to adopt Elsa from Guilin. She fostered her children’s connection with their heritage by reading bedtime stories to them about adoption and participating with them in Chinese Saturday school. Karen spent countless hours driving the kids to extracurricular activities, gardening, keeping track of schedules, cooking the most delicious homemade meals, attending her kids’ performances, games, and showcases, and much more, all while making motherhood look effortless. Her strength, emotional intelligence, and strong organizational skills made her a wife, mother, and friend that all could depend on and trust wholeheartedly.
Karen spent a lifetime as a dedicated animal advocate. A vegetarian from early adulthood, she later adopted a vegan lifestyle, making sure to choose with care products and life practices that upheld the survival and dignity of all animals. She adopted and fostered many animals, having given refuge to both strays from the woods and from shelters. After retiring from her accounting career, she regularly volunteered with Andy's Friends Cat Rescue & Adoption. She adored and fully loved each and every pet she had in her lifetime, from the cats she had in Springfield to the three goats in Glen Mills and especially her beloved Border Collie, Malachi Jones “Malley” Panczner.
At the end of the day, Karen will be remembered as a strong-willed and loving woman who recognized the value of every human and animal life. She enjoyed a nice glass of fresh brewed iced tea and Peanut Chews, long walks with Malley at the park, the Dave Matthews Band, reading and trying out recipes, crocheting, Cape May, the “crick” outside the house, and playtime with the cats. And as an avid lover of outdoor work, she could, not too long ago, be found on an extension ladder painting the side of the house. But most of all, she enjoyed quality time with her husband and two children.
A Celebration of Life for Karen will be held in the spring.