Karen Mortensen

Obituary of Karen B. Mortensen

Karen Butterfield Mortensen, 81, of Oxford passed away peacefully on January 9, 2021 at her home in Oxford, NY. Karen is survived by her two daughters and their spouses, Kirsten Mortensen and Ken Fisher, and Sigrid Mortensen and Richard Loosemore; by her grandchildren, Catharine Lewis and husband Glenn Pace, and Soren Mortensen; and by her brother, Neil Butterfield. Several nieces, nephews and cousins also survive. Her beloved husband, Jim Mortensen, predeceased her in April of 2020. Karen was born on March 27, 1939 in Penn Yan to her parents Ernest and Mabel (Liddiard) Butterfield. She graduated from Elmira Heights High School and received her Bachelor of Teaching at Cortland State College. In the 1991, she received her masters of reading education from SUNY Cortland. Karen and Jim met at Cortland State and were married on June 18, 1960. The two subsequently settled in Oxford where they both took teaching positions at Oxford Academy and Central School; Karen taught the fourth grade in Oxford for much of the next 33 years, except for the last few years when she taught remedial reading in the primary school. She retired in 1993. Karen was a member of the New York State Teachers Association, and for several years directed the choir at the Oxford Methodist Church. Later, she sang with the choir at the United Church of Oxford. An avid lover of nature, Karen liked nothing better than to get out on the golf course with Jim, enjoying their membership at Canasawacta Country Club in Norwich; to hike in the woods around her home or on the Finger lakes trail; or to enjoy the many scenes of nature around her beloved country home. She loved every tree around her home and on her walks, every bird who visited her bird feeder, and every flower in her husband's extensive flower gardens. She was thrilled with the changing views of Chenango county through every season. Karen was a talented musician: a lifelong pianist who would happily accompany a friendly singalong or a children's chorus; a singer; a cornet player; and later in life even tried her hand at the violin. She also loved to read, especially books that brought her closer to her spirituality, and on a winter's day could be found curled up in her favorite chair, book in hand, cat on her lap, and roaring fire in her fireplace. She was also a whiz at bridge, and loved playing pinochle with her family, as much for the camaraderie and laughter as for the game itself. Karen touched the lives of countless students, friends, neighbors, and family members who will be forever changed by knowing her kindness, her warmth toward friends and strangers alike, her gentleness, her deep well of gratitude, and the sense of humor that was never far from the surface. The ripples from her life will continue to expand ever outward into the Oxford community and beyond. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm on Friday, January 15, 2021, with visiting hours beginning at noon, at the Behe Funeral Home, 21 Main St. Oxford, NY. Pastor Richard Howard will officiate. Please follow all COVID and social distancing guidelines when attending. Burial will be in Riverview Cemetery, Oxford. Memorial contributions may be made to the Jim and Karen Scholarship fund of Oxford Academy and Central School, PO Box 192, Oxford NY 13830. Friends and family may share memories and condolences by visiting www.behefuneralhome.com
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