KAREN STRIMPLE
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STRIMPLE KAREN STRIMPLE Karen Strimple, surrounded by many loved ones, passed away on June 28, 2020. As director of St. Columba's Nursery School in Northwest Washington, DC, for 28 years, Karen was passionate about the importance of early childhood education, especially for the emotional, cognitive, physical, and social development of three- to five-year-old children. Karen's belief in preschool as a powerful influence on how children experience their worlds was ever present in her work. Joining the staff as a music teacher in 1970, Karen worked at St. Columba's until her retirement in 2006. As director, Karen transformed the nursery school experience for hundreds of Washington families, pioneering sensory motor integration to anticipate and mitigate students' future learning challenges; incorporating extensive, all-weather outdoor playtime; integrating animals into the learning process; and creating an inclusive environment for children with all abilities. Through her support and encouragement, Karen provided the scaffolding that allowed both teachers and students to take risks. She fostered collaboration, team work, and kindness. Karen was known for visiting classrooms with one of her beloved, bandanaed Labrador retrievers in tow. Three dogs --Luke, Brandy and Cassidy - joined Karen over her tenure at the preschool, sporting tutus for the annual Halloween parade through the local retirement home. Some people might remember school events inaugurated by Karen like the end-of-year Teddy Bear picnic or Stone Soup, when children brought items for making soup to donate to a community organization. Karen's work at St. Columba's was part of her role in the Washington, DC area Episcopal community. For many years she offered parenting classes and she consulted with local institutions, including St. Philip's Child Development Center in Anacostia and All Saints Preschool in Chevy Chase, MD. Karen acted as chair of the Mid-Atlantic Episcopal School Association (MAESA) for six years and was on the board of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NEAS) for eight years. In addition, as a long-term member of St. Alban's Episcopal Church, she contributed as both junior and senior warden and as a stalwart member of the flower guild. She participated in a diocesan committee to select priests and bishops. Upon retirement in 2006, Karen and her husband Earl relocated to Blue Ridge Summit, PA, where Karen cultivated not only her love for gardening but also her love of family, cooking, and reading. As a master gardener, she joined the local garden club and served as president from 2013-14, during which she planned local landscape beautification projects. Through her bridge club, she developed new friendships. She remained a long-term member in two book clubs, one in DC and the other in PA. As wife, mother, sister, and grandmother, she was friend, mentor, and advisor, creating an environment in which all felt welcomed. As Karen journeyed through life, she touched the lives of so many children, parents, and co-workers. Her ripples of influence can still be felt throughout her extensive community. A memorial service will be held when circumstances allow. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of these two projects: The playground redevelopment at St. Philip's Child Development Center in Anacostia; or The Karen Strimple Scholarship Fund at St. Columba's Nursery School. To support St. Philip's Child Development Center, please visit www.stphilipscdc.org and click on donate. To donate to St. Columba's, please send contributions to Saint Columba's Nursery School at 4201 Albemarle Street NW, Washington DC 20016.In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of these two projects: The playground redevelopment at St. Philip's Child Development Center in Anacostia; or The Karen Strimple Scholarship Fund at St. Columba's Nursery School. To support St. Philip's Child Development Center, please visit www.stphilipscdc.org and click on donate. To donate to St. Columba's, please send contributions to Saint Columba's Nursery School at 4201 Albemarle Street NW, Washington DC 20016.

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Published in The Washington Post from Aug. 2 to Aug. 7, 2020.
Memories & Condolences
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2 entries
August 4, 2020
Because her vision was so inclusive and compassionate, many children with diverse abilities and their families were afforded a wonderful preschool experience.
We are thankful for her presence in our lives.
Rosalind German
Teacher
August 2, 2020
Geraldine Otremba
Friend
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