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1962 Karen 2022

Karen King

October 23, 1962 — May 15, 2022

South Austin Location

Karen Sue King passed away unexpectedly on 5-15-22 on her family farm, Hope Ranch, near Balmorhea, TX.

Karen was born October 23, 1962 in San Antonio, TX to Carol May McFadden and Kenneth Rhea King.

She lived in Austin for many years.  Karen had been employed at UT-Austin for 32 years.  She retired from her position as the Administrative Manager of the Animal Resources Center at UT  on 2-3-2020.

Karen leaves behind her husband John Pollard, three sons Fabian Panelli, Chris Panelli, and Seth Pollard as well as 2 grandsons and 7 granddaughters.  Also surviving are two sisters Deborah King of Santa Fe and Kathy Campbell of Wimberly, and two brothers, Keith King and Ken King both of San Antonio.

Nothing was more important to Karen than her family and friends.  She will be greatly missed by many.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her daughter, Stephanie Pollard on Dec 21, 2018.

A private Celebration of Life is planned.

In her work at UT Karen often gave this speech at the graduation ceremonies for those obtaining their General Educational Development (GED) certificates:

I would like to personally congratulate each and everyone of you for successfully completing your GED. Some of you might know me and most of you do not. My name is Karen King. I am the former GED Chief Examiner for the University of Texas at Austin. I administered the GED test here at Travis County Corrections for seven years.

When they asked me to speak here at this graduation ceremony I was quite surprised and scared.  I have never given a speech before. What am I going to say? Why did they want me to do this? I am a nobody. Plus, I hate sitting there listening to these long speeches that could’ve been summed up in just a few words.

But today I am going to tell you a story. Some of you will listen and some of you won’t remember a word I say. But I hope more than one of you will actually be encouraged by what I have to say today.

This is a story of a young woman I knew. She had gone through some troubled times in her life and always somehow seemed to become stronger with each hurdle. Her mother passed away when she was 12. Her father was completely lost without the mother of his children, his wife and lifelong companion. While her father was trying to find himself, this young woman started making decisions that were not in her best interest. She started doing a lot of things troubled teenagers do. She thought she knew it all and that a high school diploma was not something she needed.

At age 15 she married who she thought was the man of her dreams, thinking she would live happily ever after. Her first child arrived at age 18. By age 20 she had two children, no education and a very unhealthy, abusive marriage. Finally, after almost 10 years of abuse she had gained enough courage and confidence to leave.

She moved to a new town with her two children. When she arrived in this new town she had only one box of possessions. In this box was one toy for each child, a few pictures and their birth certificates. Although she had a place to stay, she longed for a place of her own. She was trying to figure out how she was going to support herself and her children. NO ONE wanted to hire an uneducated, single mother.

After six months of juggling children, a low paying job and school, she finally successfully completed her GED. That young woman was me.

I am here today to tell you, do not give up on your education. The GED is one of the most important steps in your life. This is only the beginning. The GED will open doors for you. Opportunities will come your way. I am not saying things will be handed to you on a silver platter. You will have to work hard for everything you want or need. But the feeling of achieving and completing your goals is undescribable.

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