Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Alumni Obituaries

Karen Donovan Magan

Karen was friend of children, teacher, community volunteer, wife, mother, grandmother, and widely acknowledged as the founder of the Children's Museum in Evansville. She died at the age 68 of corticobasal degeneration.Karen graduated from Bosse High School (1960) and held undergraduate degrees from Butler University (1964) and Evansville College (1966), and a Master's degree in elementary education from Indiana University (1970), with additional work towards a Master's in communications at the University of Evansville.As a teacher, she taught first and second grades in Evansville, IN, Chula Vista, CA and Bloomington, IN, and substituted from 1989 to 1991.Karen was the Public Relations Coordinator at Mesker Park Zoo in 1983, where she started the first Zoo Day, the first summer camp, and with Pat Bateman, the first Zoo docent program.A long-time member of the Junior League, she was chairman of the League's rummage sale, Arrangements Committee, and Corresponding Secretary. In 1971, Karen chaired the Junior League - sponsored Kaleidoscope, a Hallmark Cards traveling art program for children. Involvement in this art program sparked her interest in collecting kaleidoscopes. She collected over 60 pieces.In 1990, the Junior League asked Karen to head a task force to explore the idea of a children's museum. This eventually led to Hands on Discovery, which developed into the present Koch Children's Museum of Evansville. To start a children's museum, she often said, one needs "passion, patience, persistence and people.Her community involvement included the Board of the Boys Club (1981 to 1985), docent at the Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science from 1985 to 1989 and President of the Docent Association in 1988. She shared her love of teaching and art as an Impact Ministries after-school tutor and was a Laubach Literacy tutor.Karen was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta Alumni Club, and President and newsletter editor from 1989-1994 and directory chairman from 1989 to 2008. Karen was a Board member of the USI Society for Arts & Humanities (1996 - 2007), and the Board of the Harlaxton Society of the University of Evansville (2007 to 2009). Karen's love of art lead her to develop an interest in photography. In 1988, Karen had a photography show at Citizens Bank titled and featuring a sundial that said, "My Face Marks the Sunny Hours; What Can You Say of Yours?" Her photographs were published in several of the Walter Wangerin, Jr.'s books, and in 1988 she had photographs in the One Day in the Life of Evansville, a Leadership Evansville calendar.Karen was the recipient of numerous awards including the Junior League's Helen Klamer Philp Community Leadership Award (1994), the Leadership Evansville Arts and Education individual achievement award (2000), the Sagamore of the Wabash for her community leadership (2001), Beacon Group Beacon Honors (2005), the Mayor's Arts Award (2006) and along with her Mother, the YWCA's 20th Tribute to Achievement (2009). In 2006, she received the Children's Museum of Evansville Inaugural Child's Hand Award. cMoe presents a special award annually in her honor, the Karen D. Magan Inspiring Life Award.Karen met her future husband Tom at a YMCA New Year's Eve party their freshman year in high school. They married August 20, 1966. But just before the wedding, dark thunder clouds rolled in. During the ceremony, lightning and thunder cracked the air and punctuated the vows. As the service ended the storm passed. Neu Chapel doors were opened to a bright, clean day.Her father, Arthur R. Donovan, predeceased her.Her survivors include, in addition to her husband Tom, her mother, Marjorie Donovan, two sons, Michael and his wife, Amy, of Carmel, IN, and Mark and his wife Shannon, of Plainfield, IN, three grandchildren, Anna, Charles, and Robert Magan of Carmel, IN, her sister, Sandra Donovan of Indianapolis, two nephews, Matthew Larkin and Jonathon Donovan, both of Indianapolis, and grand niece Lathorian Mariposa Donovan and grand nephew Maxwell Donovan.Karen was a member of The Methodist Temple.The family thanks the staffs of Evansville Protestant Home and Deaconess Hospice for their loving care.In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Koch Family Children's Museum of Evansville (cMoe), P.O. Box 122, Evansville, Indiana 47701.Information obtained from the Evansville Courier & Press online, www.courierpress.com"