(The following remarks were written by President Emeritus Lloyd M. Pelfrey and read by his daughter, Rhonda Dunham, at the Ladies’ Banquet on April 21, 2016.)
We honor Karen Richardson for being especially faithful in attendance and in support of this Women’s Banquet. Karen always looked forward to attending this annual event, for she was able to be with friends she had made throughout the years—fellow students from the first years of the college, or people from areas where she has lived.
Karen has this educational distinction. After high school she attended Chillicothe Bible College, which
in one sense is a predecessor of CCCB. That college closed in December, 1956. When Central started in the fall of 1957, she came to Moberly by bus to be a part of this college. She really wanted to serve the Lord, and she did. She has a special distinction that no one else will ever duplicate: she is the only person to have attended Chillicothe, and then to be graduated here. She was a member of the Class of 1960.
Karen accepted Christ and was baptized when she was 13 years old. Her family lived near Galt, MO, and they attended the Berry Christian Church. They had to break the ice in a farm pond for her baptism.
Karen married Jack Richardson in August of 1960. When Jack began working with Goodman Church Builders, the two of them began a life of moving from state to state as Jack became a construction superintendent for churches, and especially for several buildings at what is now Johnson University in Knoxville, Tennessee. Karen maintained friendships in the six states where Jack’s work took them. When construction began on what is now Pelfrey Hall on our campus, Jack was the superintendent, and they have been in Moberly ever since.
Through the years, she was also a fixture in attending our Alumni rallies and Saints in Action events. She had many friends from her time as a student here that she maintained a relationship with through these events. She had also made new friends of those who came to Moberly to attend and work at Central.
The key word that people have used in describing Karen Richardson is this: inspiration. At the close of Central’s first year at Central a fellow student wrote these words: “Your sincerity and courage have certainly been an inspiration to me.” At the end of the second year in 1959, a classmate wrote: “You’ll never know what an inspiration you are to me.” Recently the women in her Sunday School class were asked if they would write tributes about Karen, and there was that word again. One person expressed it like this: “Karen was an inspiration to so many of us ladies at Timber Lake Christian Church. . . . Karen was so loved by us all.”
Another lady said it this way. “I loved Karen’s insight of scripture . . . she quoted scripture, shared stories from the Bible, . . . personal experiences—she just shared herself with us. She would make us laugh and makes us cry.”
About two years ago the local church, Timber Lake Christian, interviewed four people who were fighting the battles associated with cancer. They were encouraging one another and others by sharing their thoughts and attitudes. All of them are now deceased. The last one to pass from this life was Karen who died this past December 15, at her home just east of Moberly. (Click below to play a portion of that interview.)
On the Sunday afternoon of the week that she died, my Mom and Dad went to see her. When she saw my Dad, she said, “Oh, Brother Pelfrey, there is an Old Testament question I wanted to ask you, but . . . I can’t remember it right now with all this medication.” Karen was learning and sharing to the end.
Karen was very open about her struggles and triumphs. She knew she was going to die; she just didn’t know when. By her sharing her journey, those of us in class with her were allowed to watch how a dedicated Christian woman gets ready to die. It was a gift that she gave to her class. Even in the planning of her own memorial service, she wanted it to be for others more than for herself. She was truly a “dedicated friend.”
We invite you to join with her family in making a donation in memory of Karen to help provide Full-Tuition Scholarship Funds for the students of Central Christian College of the Bible.
(If you are giving by credit card, the card information will be requested after completion of the form below. If you would prefer to give from a bank account, you may type the account information within the form. Secure payment processing by Bluepay Processing Services. To give by check, please make checks payable to Central Christian College of the Bible and mail to 911 E. Urbandale Drive, Moberly, Missouri 65270. Please write “Karen Richardson Memorial” in the memo line. Thank you for your tax-deductible gift.)