Karen L. Hobbs

Karen L. Hobbs, age 77, a resident of the Colorado Springs area since 1971, passed away with her family by her side on May 2, 2013 after a 13 year long illness. She was a fashion model, photographer, artist, scholar, skier, French instructor, military wife, loving mother, fashion designer, interior designer, business woman, author, military historian and lecturer, and world traveler. All this was done with grace and style, not a hair out of place.

Karen Lucille (Kiehn) Hobbs was born on October 8, 1935 in Red Wing, Minnesota to the late Harry Edward Kiehn and Lucille Dorothy (Bregel) Kiehn, who became the owners and editors of the Lamberton News in 1949. She attended elementary school in Red Wing, Minnesota and graduated as Valedictorian at Lamberton High School in Lamberton, Minnesota in 1953.

She was graduated from the College of Saint Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota class of 1957 with degrees in Art and French and attended a French language summer session at Laval University in Quebec, Canada to prepare for studies in France. Karen was commended by the St. Paul College Court of Honor for High Scholastic Achievement. She was made a member of Phi Beta Kappa and achieved membership in Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society. During her college years she worked as a fashion model and was crowned Snow Princess in the Court of the St. Paul Winter Carnival and Miss Uptown for the Minneapolis Aquatennial.

Karen received a scholarship from the French Government to study Medieval Art History at the University of Poitiers in France. While in on a trip to Germany, she met her future husband, Army Lt. Leo P, Hobbs of Shenandoah, PA, and they were married on April 4, 1959 in El Paso, Texas.

Karen embraced the adventure and social life of a military wife and mother, moving her family to eleven different locations that criss-crossed the country, including three years in Germany. She made every move an exciting adventure and lesson in geography and history for her daughters.

She began family life as a buyer of ski clothing and equipment at the Popular Dry Goods Department Store in El Paso, Texas, and continued her career as a fashion model, taught French at St. Mary’s High School in El Paso and later at a high school in Carmel, California and earned a teaching certificate in 1969 in Leavenworth, Kansas. In Colorado, Karen became a business woman by starting “Montage,” an interior design business, and then “Plane Design,” her own furniture design company, operating on the front range and in Summit County. Her signature piece was “The Hobbs Bench.” She also turned her interest in family history into a genealogy career, becoming a leading expert and lecturer on research of LDS records as well as Austrian Military History. She belonged to the German Bohemian Society and the Czech Bohemian Society in St. Paul Minnesota, researched and wrote articles for their publications “Heimatbrief” and “Nase Rodina.” Karen’s research helped her discover and visit her ancestors’ 400 year old farmhouse in Bohemia.

Karen translated and published an old Bohemian publication, “100 Tales From Sudetenland” using her German language skills.

Karen took advantage of the military re-locations and traveled from the bases with extensive excursions in Europe, Russia, Japan, China and Egypt. Throughout her life she created award winning art in sculpture, painting, print, macramé, batik and photography. She designed and sewed her own fashionable clothing. She embraced the world of dog shows, hunting and retrieving with the beloved family dog, Count von Brandenburg, a champion pure-bred German Short-Haired Pointer. First introduced to skiing on a date with husband Leo in Austria, they later enjoyed many of the newly developing New Mexico and Colorado Resorts and owned mountain property where their family could ski every weekend.

This exceptional woman was a loving mother and wife. She charmed all those who met her and her infectious love of life was shared in every way. She was beautiful both inside and out. Clearly a highlight of her life was to celebrate her 50th anniversary with Leo and to spend time with her grandchildren. She had a close relationship with her sisters and relatives and will be missed by all whose lives she touched.

Karen was a member of Holy Apostles Catholic Church in Colorado Springs.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years: Lt. Col. Leo P. Hobbs, US Army (Ret.) of Colorado Springs; and two loving daughters: Celeste (Kenneth) Wood of Colorado Springs; and Monica Hobbs (Gregor Huesgen) of Colorado Springs. She has five adoring grandchildren: Brian, Ben, Connor, Alexa, and Zoe.

Karen is also survived by her sisters: Kathy Brush of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Margery (Larry) Linnenburger of Colorado Springs, and numerous nieces and nephews.

A closed casket visitation will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 10, 2013 at Holy Apostles Catholic Church, 4925 North Carefree Circle, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80917. A Memorial Mass will begin at 11:00 a.m. at the church, and a luncheon reception will follow the Mass in the Fellowship Hall.

In lieu of flowers, memorials in Karen’s name may be made to Holy Apostles Catholic church.

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This Obituary Has One Condolence

  1. Though late in learning of her passing, my condolences are nonetheless heartfelt.

    Karen graciously helped me (years ago) with what was clearly her extensive background research on the Austrian Army, from a Moravian citizen perspective as it related to his forced conscription, probable secret marriage, and the birth of my Great Grandfather near and during wartime. (The period from 1861, his birth, and 1869—the marriage of Valentin and Johanna.) This helped in a very special way—in broadening the story and impact on Valentin and Johanna’s lives in Moravia, under Austro-Hungarian rule—before they left for America in 1871.

    We conversed back and forth through email to add on my “story”, and it was obvious that she enjoyed her research. This, was made even more significant to me, as an adult adoptee, researching my paternal family. One I did not grow up knowing.

    Such a kind and knowledgeable person.

    Thank you again, Karen,
    Richard Martin

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