Karen Blomain
August 15, 2012

Karen Blomain, a retired Keystone College and Kutztown University professor, poet and novelist died on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at the home of her daughter in Union Dale, Pa.

When faced with grave illness, Karen continued to say with a smile that she was "lucky, lucky." Her greatest joys in life were her family, her travels, her innumerable best friends and teaching how to write from the heart. All who knew her realize that we are the ones who are "lucky, lucky" to have had her in our lives.

Her first novel, "A Trick of Light," first published in 2000, began what was to be a trilogy delineating the lives of three women over a period of 60 years. "The Season of Lost Children," the second novel in the series, carried the lives of Blomain's main characters into another generation. The third book in the trilogy, "I'm Still Me," remains unfinished. A highly regarded poet, she authored several books of poetry, and her work appeared in numerous literary periodicals.

Born in Scranton, Karen was a daughter of Thomas and Lucille Blomain.

Survivors are her husband, playwright Michael Downend; brother, Thomas Blomain, and fiancée Jessica Engel; sisters, Lucille Lyman and Donna Vandegrift; children, James McHale, Dr. Kielty Turner and husband R.J. Turner, Brett McHale and wife Lori McHale; grandchildren, Kayla McHale, Colin and Claire Turner, Lilliana and Dylan McHale. Also surviving are her six step-children, John, Mark, Patrick and Aaron Downend; Kenwyn Loefflad and Amanda Downend Modrovsky.

Arrangements for a Celebration of Karen's life will be made at the convenience of the family. Cremation is through the Kevin M. Lesjack Funeral Home, 513 Main St., Forest City, Pa.

Contributions in Karen Blomain's memory can be made to the Karen Blomain Memorial Fund established at Marywood University, Scranton. Condolences can be sent online at www.lesjackfuneralhome.com.

Published by Times Leader on Aug. 17, 2012.
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43 Entries
I have several memories of Karen: one day I saw Karen and several women whooping it up on the beach, enjoying good food, good conversation under a sunny sky. Her collage art and social commentary always caught my eye. And her time spent editing my book of poems, cut, snip, add. I so appreciated her clear concise suggestions and her encouragement for creativity. She was a smart and lively spirit, too soon gone, but not forgotten.
Marcia Wolff
August 7, 2017
Karen was my teacher at Kutztown. I recently googled her name and was saddened to discover that she passed away. She was a caring woman with a lot of talent. I send my condolences to her family.
Matthew Doyle
January 23, 2017
I am just devastated...that's all.
Andi Mitnick
September 13, 2012
What began in Anam Cara on the Beara years ago was a magical journey with an extraordinary woman/spirit as a guide. Karen will live on in her words, her family and all lucky enough to meet her in their life journey. Sail on dea lady, Ithaka awaits you.
nora hussey
August 28, 2012
May flights of angels guide her to her rest, for she was an angel here on earth. Her kindness and smile will never be forgotten. May her words comfort all of you.
Marie Calderoni
August 22, 2012
To the whole family of Karen, we add our sympathies. We met Karen in 1990 when we purchased her home at Baylors Lake. We were so grateful to be at the lake, having fallen in love with it over the years we spent there on vacations. No other lake would do for us, and Karen geve us the opportunity to be here. We have had family reuions, connected with other "lake people", had all the things that we all go through. Somehow, for us, being at this lake made the good times better, and the bad times more bearable. Some of the family that came here, and some of the friends are no longer with us. But this house holds all the memories and love we have experienced in 21 years. I suspect that Karen felt the healing power of this lake and her home reflected this. We have made some changes, but hopefully, those that Karen would like. But her colors (the blue cabinets, the gray siding, the certain shade on the walls, which in ceratin lights gives off a warm, pinky tone) - all of these are the same. She obviously had an artist's soul, and not just with her writing.

Karen left a poem for us when she left - which we still have on our Fridge:

at night, every window
warns: don't go
you'll be sorry

I pack with
my head down listening
for the steady

hiss of water heater
pine boughs worrying
porch, shingles

yes why leave
when I love the seasons
of this house

will always think
of snow as static
over the gray lake

until wrens spring
up around the feeder
on my sill

summer means the garden's
dark ooze under
my nails

to wash in the clear
skyfilled lake
long afternoons

but the wind has shifted
pulls me to another

and like all creatures
with hollow bones
I have to go

Karen Blomain Byalors Lake May 1990

Bob and Sheila Hochlander
Baylors Lake
August 20, 2012
Tom, James, Brett and Michael, I know how Karen was an immensely important part of your lives and that you will have to fill that void. My thoughts are with you.
Perry Rose
August 19, 2012
My most sincere and heartfelt sympathy and prayers are extended to Karen's entire family. From the moment I met this beautiful woman many, many years ago I knew we were kindred spirits. We shared a "magical" journey together! I feel blessed and honored to have shared my life with such an amazingly wise, gifted and special soul. God sent Karen here to make this world a better place. The lives & hearts she touched in such a special way could be mastered by very few.

There's a universal truth that we all have to face, whether we want to or not. Everything “as we know it” eventually ends. As much as I hate endings, there are some people who are so much a part of us they'll “be with us” no matter what. Losing my son helped me understand that death is merely a “new beginning” set in a most magical place! In Heaven there's no suffering, sadness, or loneliness; what a wonderful place to look forward to.

Of course, there will be moments when those who loved Karen so deeply will feel sadness in our hearts; but it's during those moments we merely need to “touch our hearts” and each & every one of the wonderful memories we created and shared together will be experienced two-fold.

Until we are re-united once again, let's continue to bask in the love & infinite light from which we were created! The light in me salutes the light in you …

Always, All Ways,
Bonnie McHale French
August 18, 2012
Karen was calm gentle presence that will be missed by everyone she touched with her words.She was capable of expressing with grace some of the more difficult passages...I still have her poem"Old Broads" in with the family recipies file and always think of her wit and insight when they get pulled out to feed the gang. I know the kids will miss "Honey"- she was sweet.Thoughts and prayers to all. Nancy, John and the girls.
Nancy Mercanti
August 18, 2012
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief.
August 18, 2012
It's been a ong time since I've been at Keystone as a student and later as an employee. Karen lit up a room when she walked in, always beautiful and always with a smile. She will live on in many hearts.
Fran Owens
August 17, 2012
I met Karen and her brother several years ago at Wilkes University's writer's workshop. She was one of the nicest people I've ever met, and signed a copy of "Trick of Light" for me. When I saw her obituary today, I was shocked and saddened.

I also realized I met Kielty many years ago at a debate/dramatic interpretation event in the early 1980s. A girl as sweet as her mom and uncle.

Karen and her family remain in my thoughts and prayers.
Sandra Skies Ludwig
August 17, 2012
I only had the honor of meeting this wonderful lady once, a number of years ago, but I never forgot that encounter.
May she rest in peace and may her family be spared further sorrows.
Allyna Vineberg
August 17, 2012
Karen wrote with courage and purpose. I had the privilege of performing her poetry, and we'd talk about "the page to the stage" experience. She was such a respected colleague, a kindred world traveler, and a generous, embracing soul with an infectious smile and laugh. We will miss her.
roberta crisson
August 17, 2012
We grieve with you over the loss of Karen but rejoice in the time we had with her.
Nancy & Tommy Patterson
August 17, 2012
I will never forget Karen's selflessness and courage in her writing. Her poems speak volumes and touched many. My deepest sympathies to Michael and the entire family. We will miss her and remember her.
Gary Balfantz
August 17, 2012
Condolences to Karen's family. She was my sister Ann's friend when they were at Marywood Sem. I came across some of her writings which I think are wonderful. We exchanged emails and I found her to be the same delightful person she was when we were very young. I am very sorry for your loss.
Eileen Doyle Barnhart
August 17, 2012
Karen was a creative inspiration and spirit and is held in high regard amongst our region community and at Keystone College. My deepest condolences. She will surely be missed by many. Grace and Light be with you all.
Judith Keats
August 17, 2012
The coal regions have pressed another diamond into the heavenly crown. Karen was such an inspiration to me and other writers who "came from coal" as noted in her "Coalseam" anthology. Interestingly, just last night I was going through some papers and came across a newspaper clipping about her reading with Welsh poet Grahame Davies in 2009. She was invaluable in helping me arrange his visit to NEPA back then. My last fond memory of Karen is her spirited reading of her "Old Broads" poem with Grahame. She also was on the panel for the Pennsylvania premiere of the documentary on Hyam Plutzik that I worked on, and she also published several of my own poems in her "Coalseam" anthology. A true mentor, friend, and passionate lover of language. Adieu, Karen, you have not gone gentle into that good night.
Edward Moran
August 17, 2012
Shine in God's kingdom as you did in our lives Karen. Live in your works and friendships hearts.
Diane Lentes Arnold
August 17, 2012
Karen was a class act my condolences
clifton prokop
August 17, 2012
I am so very sorry to hear of Karen's passing. I have many warm and wonderful memories of being in the McHale home when I was young. Karen's artistry and creativity were and will remain an inspiration to me. To Kielty, Jim, Brett, and their families, I extend my deepest sympathies.
Jim Holmes
August 17, 2012
With deepest sympathy to the family during your time of grief. Psalms 46:1 says " God is for us a refuge and strength. A help readily to be found during difficult times. May God provide you with peace and comfort to endure the days ahead.
August 17, 2012
Our recent 50th reunion was priceless. Karen was a wonderful memory from the past. It is my loss to have not known her in the present. My sincere condolences to her family.
Susan Wilchenski - Musica
August 17, 2012
Karen, you are in my heart,you will be dearly missed. My condolences to Karen's family.
Val Langan
August 17, 2012
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
Tom Beline & Family
August 17, 2012
My condolences to the family.I had the opportunity to be educated by Karen while I attended Kutztown University('94). Her writings were incredible! She will be missed.
Sharon Blakney
August 17, 2012
Karen Blomain is one of the distant stars in the constellation of artists and poets that brightened the most intellectually active and joyous period in my life to date. To this day I see her smiling face as it was on the first day I met her at a poetry reading in Scranton. She was genuinely interested in and knowledgeable of Latin American and Spanish writers. To me she was a rare luminary, one of the precious few that came into my life then. Lucky, lucky me. Thank you, again, Karen.
Victoria Cays
August 17, 2012
I enjoyed renewing our high school days last year with Karen. She was so vibrant and dynamic. It is hard to believe that she went so quickly. I am so sorry for all of you.
Marianne Hazlett
August 16, 2012
Karen was always a beautful person from the time I met her "...when she was a child and I was a child". She laughed easily and charmed all the boys. She was a gem.
Jack McGee
August 16, 2012
I was heartbroken to hear of Karen's passing today. I am so very sorry for all of you who love her so much. I feel so privileged to have attended her writing class at the Waverly Community House. She was a delight to know. I will cherish the autographed copy of the book she gave me. She was a remarkable person and will be missed by many!
Kathy Porter
August 16, 2012
Voy a decirte hasta luego en "Spanish" porque asi lo quisieras, Karen siempre estaras en un pedacito de mi corazon. Mi sentido pesame para toda tu familia.
Lupe Hernandez
August 16, 2012
We cherish your smile,
Your voice, your laugh, and your words.
A soul well treasured.
Jerry Williams
August 16, 2012
So sorry to learn of Karen's paasing. I so enjoyed working with her when you served on the Friends of the Weinberg Library Board at the University of Scranton.
My deepest sympathy,
Charles Kratz
August 16, 2012
I can't begin to express how sorry I am to have read of Karen's passing. She will always be in my heart and the hearts of those whose lives she has touched in so many ways, in so many places. My most sincere condolences.
Maggie Martin
August 16, 2012
To Michael, Tom and Karen's family,
I am so sorry for your loss.
I've grown up listening to Karen read her poetry. I feel lucky to have witnessed those readings in the basement of St. Luke's Church as I knew I was in on something special. I will miss her bright smile and hugs, but I will miss her voice the most.
Trinka Ravaioli
August 16, 2012
I'm so sorry to hear of Karen's passing. I had the pleasure of being in several of her creative writing classes at KU. I'm still writing, and the lessons she taught me are a lasting influence on my work. She was a fabulous teacher and an amazing writer!
Heather Baver
August 16, 2012
I shared Karen's wonderful spirit in the paradise of Puerto Vallarta where we both worked at Sally Conley's drop-in centre helping the children of the community learn English and develop a love of reading. She was a wonderful person who gave a lot of herself to the children.
Bill Jory
August 16, 2012
Oh, Michael, I am so sorry. Karen was such a wonderful woman, loved by so many.
She leaves a large hole in this world.
Sue Penedos
August 16, 2012
Karen and I had such fun in putting together a presentation for our high school reunion last year. We shared stories about our Marywood Sem days and our work in the writing field. Karen was a gem. My condolences to the family.
Tina Rodgers Lesher
Westfield, N.J.
August 16, 2012
A very remarkable woman and a joy to know.
Jerry Williams
August 16, 2012
A Mosaic for Karen

My beloved Karen,
Our beautiful Karen,
How special you are in our lives,
Guide our energies.

A beautiful lady,
A giant soul and inspiration,
At peace with life,
I wish we were together.

All is well,
It seems like just yesterday,
I am also so grateful,
Blessed indeed.

The times we shared.
No words sufficient,
A trick of light,
I sit in silence.

I will be back in Vallarta,
The storm and lightening fireworks,
There will be a chance to gather,
What a gift.

This poem,
Poetry and spirituality,
Reassurances sent in advance.

My wonderful grandchildren,
We lost a sister,
For all the family,
We gained an angel.

My friend and teacher,
Live life to the fullest,
On the wings of a poem,
A warm embrace on the other side.

Sending love to you,
As long as I live,
We are seeing each other tomorrow night,
Un abrazo.

All Our Love
Jeff Jackson
August 16, 2012
Jim and family,
We were so sorry to learn of the tragic loss of your Mom. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Tom and Linda Nealon
August 16, 2012
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