Karen Knapp Assunto Karen Knapp Assunto quietly passed away on May 16, 2009. Karen had a courageous life in her fight against cancer. She was diagnosed with it in 1986 and through the years has proven to be a very persistent person who loved life and all it had to offer. Her doctor told her once that she believed "you have beat all of the records" on staying alive. Karen was born in Kansas City, MO and was soon adopted by Dr. Robert Knapp and his wife, Myrtle Knapp. They lived in Nebraska for a short time and then moved to South Dakota where her father was Dean of Students at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion. In addition, her mother taught grade school. During college, Karen was a very active member of Chi Omega and kept in touch with many of the members through the years. Karen was an incredible student and loved reading especially mysteries and doing crossword puzzles. Upon graduation from high school in Vermillion she went on to the university to earn her degree in English. Upon graduation, she moved to Amherst, MA and earned her master's and doctorate at the University of Massachusetts. She graduated cum laude. She held a degree in Medieval English literature and in her career she taught English in various community colleges and established a program at the University of Arizona in Tempe for graduate studies. Karen worked for Aetna for over 20 years and was an officer of the corporation in the Human Resources area with a concentration in compensation, salary analysis and ergonomics. Karen was honored with a special award from the Social Security Administration for her assistance with various computer systems and documentation. In the years she had cancer, she was an inspiration to many individuals and was called upon on numerous occasions to counsel and encourage individuals who were faced with cancer. Karen never wanted to be called strong or courageous. She felt the only way you face life with cancer was to stay focused on living. She did not like the term "survivor." She constantly referred to "living" and she did just that. She lived life to the fullest and two weeks prior to her passing, she spent two weeks touring Italy and Sicily with her husband of 32 years. During the two weeks, she constantly referred to the future because she believed strongly that type of focus would keep her going. Karen is survived by her husband, Rick Assunto of Kerrville, TX; her Aunt Jackie Law of San Pedro, CA; cousins, Sheri McHale and Jeff Law of Long Beach, CA; her stepdaughters, Tammy Saur of Manchester, CT and Cindy Varni of South Glastonbury, CT. In addition, she has three grandchildren, Tiffany, Amanda and Michael and two great-grandchildren, Jasmine and Chase. Karen's wishes are if individuals want to provide donations and gifts, they be sent to St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Visitation was held Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 5 to 7 p.m. at Grimes Funeral Chapels. Services were held Thursday, May 21, 2009, 11 a.m. at Grimes Funeral Chapels. The family invites you to send condolences at www.grimesfuneralchapels.com by selecting the "Send Condolences" link. Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Grimes Funeral Chapels of Kerrville.