Obituary

Karen Louise Kisslinger, 61, who through teaching and daily example spread the regenerative power of mindful living and creativity, died Nov. 9, 2009, at Sharon Hospital.
Karen Apple TreesAn accomplished acupuncturist, teacher, writer and organic gardener, Karen was also known throughout the community as a skillful musician, singer, dancer, ceramic and visual artist and poet.

A 34-year resident of Ancramdale and Millerton, Karen had a wide impact on the health of the region through program development. She was very active in the Northeast Community Center (NECC), where she founded the Millerton Farmers Market and taught basic principles of organic gardening and stress reduction to teens through the Summer Youth Farm Project. Previously at NECC she founded Partners for Children to educate parents in how to support healthy development. She also started NECC’s ongoing Monday night Community Happy Hour which includes yoga, meditation and chi-kung.

Karen was the meditation and contemplative practice instructor at  the Woodhull Center for Ethical Leadership in Ancramdale. She led workshops, lectures and retreats in stress reduction, healing arts and healthy lifestyles at the Millbrook School, The Hotchkiss School, and Housatonic Valley Regional High School.  She wrote the regular Way of Life column for the Healthy Living section of the Poughkeepsie Journal, and had a long-running, popular, daily radio show on WKZE called Time to Relax, which may still be heard. In the 1980s she produced Critter Jitters, the first video and instruction manual for sexual abuse prevention for small children, and founded a breastfeeding support group called W.E.B. (We Encourage Breastfeeding). More recently, Karen was a featured blogger for the Huffington Post, publishing 20 articles which are available online, and wrote and produced a CD: First Just Listen: Guided Relaxation and Meditation.

Karen was born Oct. 1, 1948, in St. Louis, Mo., and graduated from Barnard College with honors in 1970.  She worked as a ceramic artist and teacher before studying in England with Dr. J.R. Worsley, under whom she became a master acupuncturist. She maintained an active acupuncture and healing arts practice for more than 30 years.  Through this work she helped many hundreds of people move toward a more balanced relationship to life.

She will be profoundly missed by her adoring husband, Rob Dweck; her daughters, Emma and Ava Kisslinger Dweck; her sisters, Susan, Pam and Ellen; Ellen’s husband, Michael; her brother, Jerry and his wife, Leslie; her nieces, Rachel, Sarah and Paula; her nephews, David, Daniel, Aaron and Charles; Rob’s sister, Laurie; and her mother, Penny. Karen was predeceased by her father, Carl.

Karen believed that compassion is the only true source of power and was deeply committed to promoting the skills and traits of mindfulness that become part of living ethically, compassionately and healthfully.A fund in her name has been established at Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation to support students who show creativity in community health, well-being and/or contemplative practices such as yoga, meditation or organic agriculture. Donations to the fund can be sent to The Karen Kisslinger Fund, c/o Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, 800 North Main Street., Po Box 400, Sheffield, MA, or online at berkshiretaconic.org.

If you would like to share your thoughts or memories of Karen, please do so here.