Karen M. Gilbert, 1942-2018
Karen Mandel Gilbert of Grand Lake passed away peacefully with her husband Paul by her side in Denver on June 11 after a brief illness. Karen lived 75 full years. She was a caring, empathetic and funny woman who was always supportive and ready to lend a helping hand to family, friends, and strangers when needed. She was best known for her quick-witted humor which drew people to her during all occasions, if for nothing else, a good laugh.
Karen was born Oct. 10, 1942 in Denver but grew up in Colorado Springs. She was the daughter of the late Harold and Betty Whitney who owned Whitney Electric. She graduated from Palmer High School in 1960 before attending Colorado Woman’s College in Denver. She is pre-deceased by her first husband Joseph Burton Mandel of New York City who graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1961, the year they were married. After the death of Joseph in 1978, she took his seat as a director on the Woodmoor Water and Sanitation District where she met Paul (Tim) Gilbert of Hot Sulphur Springs. Karen and Paul were married in Colorado Springs in 1986.
In Colorado Springs she was best known for her fund-raising activity for the construction of the Namaste Alzheimer’s Center where, after its completion, she worked several years as an administrator. In addition, she was a member of the Junior League, and she was employed by the Air Force Academy as the Assistant Cadet Wing Hostess from 1979 to 1985. She also served on the Board of the Southern Colorado AIDS Project for several years in the 1990s.
Karen and Paul moved to Grand Lake in 2008 where she served on the Board of Directors for the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre for seven years. She was also active in the Trinity Church in the Pines.
She is survived by her husband Paul Gilbert of Grand Lake; her daughter Dawn Murray (Mike and two grandsons, Jack and Daniel Heher) of Denver; her son Christopher “C. Whitney” Mandel of Washington, DC; her step-daughter Priscilla D’Asaro-Fritsch (Tosh and step-grand-children James and Poppy) of Santa Rosa California; her brother Craig Whitney (Penny) and her sister Beth Cunningham (Jim) of Colorado Springs. She also had twelve nieces, nephews, and her beloved cat Thimphu. We all miss her dearly.
A celebration of her life will be he held in Grand Lake on Thursday, June 21 at 11 a.m. at Trinity Church in the Pines.
A scholarship is being established at Palmer High School as a tribute to Karen. Her family and friends ask that donations be made to the CSHS-Palmer Alumni Association, P.O. Box 2230, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-2230 with the check’s notation line indicating: Karen Whitney Gilbert Memorial Scholarship Fund.
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