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Karen J. Rightor

karen rightor

April 29, 2024

Karen J. Rightor, 76, died April 29, 2024, after a long period of a number of illnesses.

Karen was born and raised in a small town in western Illinois. An excellent pianist, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music at the University of Illinois. Her first job after graduation was as a music teacher and choral music director at a school near Chicago. She then worked for the Army at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, then at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia. It was at Ft. Belvoir that she started her career in what was then called Civilian Personnel Management. During that time, she also earned a Masters degree in Human Services Counseling from the University of Virginia. She moved on to the Military District of Washington, first in the District of Columbia, then at the Pentagon. Karen’s final position before her early retirement was at the Smithsonian Institution, where she managed a staff that saw to the Human Resources needs of some one-third of the Smithsonian’s varied and fascinating components.

Karen enjoyed yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, sailing, skiing, travel, reading, knitting and crocheting, and bargain hunting. Karen was a life-long devotee of all aspects of healthful living.

Karen is survived by Bill, her devoted husband of 28 years, her sister Sarah, her namesake niece Karen Emily, and Emily’s family.

No formal funeral service is planned. In lieu of flowers, fruit, and the like, please make a donation to your favorite charity. Karen’s was Inova Life With Cancer.

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  1. Bill,
    We send our deepest condolences. You were her rock, her cheerleader, best friend and caregiver! She adored you! It was a pleasure to have known Karen and see her in the office over the many many years! She was a trooper!
    Huntington Dental

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