Graduated from NRHS 1971


Houser-Obit-webSANDWICH, NH — Karen Houser (Paddleford), age 61, departed this life surrounded by her family’s love after a long battle with cancer, entering heaven and the presence of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on November 28, 2014.

She was born in Melrose, the first child of Charlotte Batchelder Paddleford and John Balcom Paddleford and grew up in North Reading. Her early years were full of dance classes, piano lessons, Girl Scouts, tennis team, school chorus, High School musicals and a love of learning and the outdoors. She graduated with the North Reading High School class of 1971.

Karen had a lifelong connection with New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. She spent summers with family on Lake Winnipesaukee and winter school breaks skiing with family at Mt. Whittier and Tenney Mtn. while staying in Center Harbor at her grandmother’s house.

Karen had many warm memories of summers on Cow Island, playing board games by gas lamps, swimming between the islands, waterskiing, hiking, trips to the laundromat and grocery store by boat, picking blueberries by the gallon, teaching Red Cross Life Saving classes at Long Island Beach, watching sunsets and thunder storms that marched down Red Hill and across the lake, finding constellations in the night sky, and listening to the songs of bull frogs and loons.

Karen graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1975 with a degree in education. She taught in elementary and special education for many years in Maine, making a difference in the lives of the young people who passed through her classrooms. She was committed to her students and to finding ways for them to succeed.

While living in Maine, Karen raised three beloved sons and was blessed with three grandsons. She was active in the North Lebanon Second Baptist Church children’s ministry, choir and women’s’ group. Karen found peace in the garden she created at her home in Lebanon. She made a place to be surrounded by God’s beauty. In addition to gardening, Karen loved to read, pick berries, make jellies and pickles, craft and crochet gifts for family and friends and study the Bible.

Karen was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 and fought the disease valiantly and gracefully for seven years with the help of family and friends and daily strength from God. Karen moved to New Hampshire, living with her parents in Sandwich then with her sister in Moultonborough during her final year. While in Sandwich, Karen sang with the Community Church of Sandwich choir, continuing to express her love for God through her gift of music.

“I lift my eyes unto the hills from whence comes my help. My help comes from the Lord, the maker of Heaven and Earth.” Psalm 121

Karen is survived by her parents, John and Charlotte Paddleford of Center Sandwich, sisters Janet Paddleford and husband Wally Cumings of Moultonborough and Cindy Danley of Manchester as well as her three sons and their families: Torrey Fuller, wife Janine and sons Liam and Caleb of Braintree MA, Jonathan Godfrey and wife Audrey of Bangor ME and Alexander Houser and son Benjamin of North Berwick ME. She also leaves a large extended family and many dear friends. Karen touched many lives during her time on this earth and is already missed.

At Karen’s request there are no visiting hours. A private family burial will take place at a later date. A memorial service, time of sharing and celebration followed by a time of fellowship for family and friends will be held on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 1:30 p.m. at the Methodist Meeting House, 6 Main Street, Center Sandwich, NH.

In lieu of flowers Karen asks that donations be made to support either children’s or music ministries at either the Community Church of Sandwich (NH) or the N. Lebanon 2nd Baptist Church (ME) or the American Cancer Society– Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

For Karen’s Book of Memories: