On August 20th 2019, Karen Elizabeth Nash left our dance floor for the final time. To all that knew her, we offer this humble memorial to an extraordinary woman.

For over 30 years Karen worked in the field of Therapeutic Recreation. She brought joy and a better quality of life to all with whom she worked. She was an educator as well. She taught at Columbia as well as offered continuing education to her residents. They even had a graduation. 
To continue her legacy, the "Karen Nash Therapeutic Recreation Certification Award" has been developed to provide financial aid to Therapeutic Recreation students at Lehman so they can take the  certification exam given by the National Council of Therapeutic Recreation.    
For further information, please contact Honey Shields at

The Journey of An Angel
It was a day that would change the world forever
An extraordinary gift
And it came to us in the form of a baby girl
She was given the name Karen
Karen began her journey towards the light
absorbing each of humanity’s greatest attributes 
and reflecting them into every person she met
Karen chose to spend her life in the service of others
Through her efforts, many smiles emerged
Many souls found peace and joy
Many hearts learned to sing
Karen raised two sons
And while they both brought her joy
It was her induction into the Nanahood
That truly lit her up
Karen cherished family above all else
Whether immediate or extended, you always got ALL of Karen
Her brothers, her nieces, her great-nieces
Each individual was a vital ingredient to her well-being
Karen had lots of friendships
But they were the way friendships were meant to be had
Friendships that spanned decades and were unconditional
Friendships that will transcend eternity
So it is Karen’s wish
That you celebrate her life
Carry forward her message
And let her light watch over each of you
And you know… SHE WILL
Posted by Patti Dowsett on August 20, 2021
Karen - if I had a penny for every time I thought of you - I could finally afford to get my face lift!  Miss you
Posted by Isabel Tiffen on August 20, 2021
I'm so proud to have called you my friend. You made such a difference in the world, Karen You did so much to enrich the lives of others. We'll always miss you.
Posted by Sandie Cohen on August 20, 2021
God left a big void on this earth when he took you back home. After two years, I mourn your passing the same as I did when you left us. You were like no other; so full of your laughter and hugs and smiles; of our long and spiritual conversations; of true friendship that is called a bonding of heart and mind. My heart is hugging your heart, our mambo queen! Forever and always, Sandie
Posted by Raymond Archer on August 20, 2021
Thank you Karen... You made a difference... Professionally and personally you made a difference to everyone you touched... and many you didn't even know.
You are missed...
Love Ray
Posted by Judy Densky on August 20, 2021
Yes I remember Karen as a special friend. We met in kindergarten and played in Coney Island. We were in schools together up till Lincoln HS and then lost touch till we worked on our 50th HS reunion and then again when she moved to Douglaston. We had dinner and went to movies together till she got sick again . I visited her at her apt and later at her son’s house and near the end at the hospice. I will always remember her smile and how her face lit up even near the end.
Be safe and pain free now my friend.
Posted by Mary Lambertson on August 20, 2021
Always in my heart, Karen...always enter my thoughts..always grateful for our friendship...

Mary Lambertson
Posted by Carmen Artiles-Anderson on August 20, 2021
Hey Karen,
Remembering you forever,
The Andersons
Posted by Judy Densky on July 12, 2021
We still miss you and always will
Posted by Diane Haber on July 7, 2021
I was dancing to the music you loved and it brought back memories of the good times we had. I miss you
Posted by Ina Oost topper on July 7, 2021
The days are very few that Karen does not come to my mind..... simply because she was so very much connected to Rick and I getting married in their home in Queens. All the pictures in our wedding album were taken in that lovely home, with Karen in many of them !
Thank you for sending this connection to her today !!!
Posted by Jeffrey Katz on July 7, 2021
Happy Birthday, Mom. Thinking of you with love and wonderful memories.
I miss you every day.
Posted by Carmen Artiles-Anderson on July 7, 2021
Dear Karen,.
You were always so positive, a person to trust and so caring. We will always remember you.
With love,
The Anderson’s
Carmen, Gary, Lana & Vanessa
Posted by Ron Becker on July 7, 2021
Dearest Karen,
Remembering your smile, your energy, your light, your compassion and joy. Missing you and remembering our times together.
Posted by Stanley Nash on July 7, 2021
July 7th 1943, I received the greatest gift anyone can ask for. Although she is no longer with us, her sprit and fond memories will stay in our hearts forever.
Posted by Dawn Lettau on July 7, 2021
Happy birthday my sweet Karen. You are never far from my mind and always in my heart
Posted by Mary Lambertson on July 7, 2021
I still miss you, Karen..but, I know you are with the Angel's. You gave so much. Your presence brought a vibrant energy to us. 
You were a everlasting gift.
Posted by Judy Densky on April 30, 2021
I knew Karen in kindergarten and still remember her cute face. And I knew her before she died and she still glowed with love and warmth till her last. She was a special friend and I will remember her till I die. We shared lovely moments in the last 10 years since our 50th Lincoln reunion which she helped plan with a small committee
Wherever you are Karen, I send my love
Posted by Dale Katz on August 23, 2020
Fifty-seven years, and a couple of hours ago, I took my first breath. It is now a year since you've left this physical life, and I truly believe that you've electrified the energy, wherever you are.


I celebrate you, and all that you've accomplished, by carrying the best parts of you forward. I love you mom
Posted by Diane Haber on August 20, 2020
I miss our good times, especially dancing. You are one of the nicest people I have every met. Your spirit remains.
Posted by Dawn Lettau on August 20, 2020
Not a day goes by you are not thought of. I miss your laugh and our phone calls. I miss your words but those that we shared will alway be with me.
Posted by Isabel Tiffen on August 20, 2020
A year since you left us Karen. It's hard to believe. I miss you and think of you often. Your beauty and your incredible spirit lives on. You made this world a better place.

Much love,
Posted by Mary Lambertson on August 20, 2020
Still miss this beautiful lady. This spring as the flowers started to bloom and all through summer, I thought of sending a picture to Karen of the blossoms. It had become second nature to me to send the snapshots to Karen. Then I sat there Wishing I could still send she had crossed over. Love you, my friend...hold you close in my heart.
Posted by Sandie Cohen on August 20, 2020
Could it be one year that you’re gone? Sometimes it feels like yesterday, sometimes eons ago. I think of you so, so often...your face will appear in my mind’s eye and I close mine and drink in your smile. You were and are one in a million dear friend. I miss you so.
Posted by Carmen Artiles-Anderson on August 20, 2020
Dearest Karen,
On this first year of your passing I wanted to remember you for what you were. A wonderful human being. We all miss you deeply.
With love,
The Andersons
Carmen, Gary Lana & Vanessa
Posted by Jeffrey Katz on August 20, 2020
Good morning Mom,

I hope that you get to read this today, I know that you have been busy. :)

I just wanted to tell you that I miss you and how much I love you. Today is so bittersweet. I was so heartbroken when you passed on this day last year but I was also so relieved. Your physical body was not allowing you to reflect your amazing spirit anymore and it was hard to see you that way. I know that you are spreading all of your positive energy and love along with all of the other angels.
You are forever in my heart.
Posted by Ina Oost topper on August 10, 2020
Thank you so much for keeping Karen's emory alive. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. It's been just about 1 year, and now she's in my mind even more than ever.
Ina T.
Posted by Gail Levine, Ph.D, on July 12, 2020
Karen was truly "A Star" whose light warmed and illumined the Path for all of us:colleagues; students; friends; family;residents. I knew Karen for over 40 years as a colleague through METRO and other professional organizations but we were on the same BODY/MIND/SPIRIT wavelength. So, when I learned she was ill, I spoke with her about sending her "remote REIKI", Universal Loving Energy. We set aside a specific time for me to "send" and her to "receive" and I felt I was channeling loving Life-Force to her. Karen was always positive and approached her "Transition" courageously and with Love in her heart. I told Karen that she was our Guide and always an inspiration. When I think of Karen, I think of the Joy she gave to everyone and the Joy she derived from living Life to the fullest.
Posted by Carmen Artiles-Anderson on July 10, 2020
Dearest Karen,
You’ll always be remembered.
We miss you,
The Andersons
Carmen, Gary, Lana & Vanessa
Posted by Ron Becker on July 7, 2020
Happy birthday dear friend. Missing you and remembering your beautiful, radiant smile and loving energy. Keep dancing with the angels.
Posted by Dale Katz on July 7, 2020
Happy Birthday Mama. I am sure it was a day filled with music and dance. It is hard to believe it is almost a year since I heard your voice. I miss you every day.
Posted by Patti Dowsett on July 7, 2020
Miss you my Dear Director, Leader and Friend ... and so wishing I could hear you laugh and so wishing I could talk to you again.... about anything or nothing at all ---- xo  AND--- the power went out at Gurwin this morning ---- just for a quick moment -- it was you, I know it was you
Posted by Nancy Schneider on July 7, 2020
Happy Birthday in Heaven Karen.

We miss and love you!!
Posted by Raymond Archer on July 7, 2020
Happy Birthday in Heaven Karen!
I was one of the lucky ones who got to know Karen since the early 90's with our professional connection of LILSA and NYSTRA and all the board work and committee work we did together. Again... Lucky for me that professional connection grew into a very nice friendship. She was a pleasure to know and a light to all who met her! 
With Fond memories and a smile on my face...
Ray Archer
BTW: The Poem is beautiful.
Posted by Jeffrey Katz on July 7, 2020
Happy Birthday, Mom. I hope that you are having the most amazing spiritual day. :)
Love you, always.
Posted by Mary Lambertson on July 7, 2020
Still miss this fine lady! Each time I take a picture of a flower I think of Karen. She was a gift to me and all who came into her energetic circle. Hold you close to my heart, Karen. May you have peace.
Posted by Dawn Lettau on July 7, 2020
Happy birthday my sweet Karen. I miss you every day.
Posted by Jeremiah Doran on October 8, 2019
I meet Karen at the Javits Center in 1985, there was a big party and she was dancing on the floor by herself. we meet, I danced with her, we shared a time in our lives together, she shared with me the dance world in NYC. She taught me how to Salsa and introduced me to her friend who all adored her. There was such life , optimism, enthusiasm in her, her outlook on life was so positive, you wanted to be around her all the time. She was a special women in my life and through her I meet one of my closest friend, her son Jeff. He possesses the same wonderful endearing qualities that his mother had and they had such a wonderful relationship. Karen changed my life by introducing me to dance, which I continue and she will never be missed.
Posted by Ina Oost topper on September 8, 2019
My tribute to Karen is because of the very special bond I shared with her , when my late-husband RIck and I were sharing our concern with her summer of 1980, that we had no place to get married ! Our spontaneous decision that summer to tie the knot within just a couple of weeks was due to the fact that both of us had very hectic out of town 24/7 work schedules, both as independent freelancers. Because we DID want all our NY friends to be at our wedding, this spur of the moment wedding plan presented a big problem - NO place to have it. We already scheduled the reform rabbi, had the date picked (only 2 weeks later...) pre-paid my sister's quickly arranged airline ticket to come in from Holland.... but NO place to get wed.
  That's when Karen said, "Oh, but then you guys get married at my nice sized, 3-story home in Queens!'
" Not only was this a most gracious way that solved our problem, when entering that morning of our wedding we saw the entire stairwell beautifully decorated with single flowers tied everywhere. (I was supposed to descent from the stairs into the living room where she had set up all the chairs for the guests.)
  Karen shall therefore be always part of my life.
 (My sister in Holland shares this tribute - she always asked about Karen for these now almost 40 years, as Karen always asked about her, so graciously.... )
Posted by Emily Katz on September 6, 2019
If you are reading this, I don't need to tell you how amazing my Nana was. I don't need to tell you that she had the brightest smile in the room, or that her hug could cure any of your problems. I don't need to tell you about her ever-lasting energy or her passion for life. If you knew my nana, you already know this. However, I will tell you about how it feels to be her only granddaughter.

My nana was my everything-buddy. My shopping buddy, my manicure buddy, my Broadway buddy, my lay on the couch and do nothing buddy. She was happy to do whatever, whenever. As long as we were together, she was smiling. Whenever we spent time together, she always made me feel like I was the most important person in the world. She supported me in anything I did, even when I was singing at the top of my lungs and everyone else was begging me to stop. She was my number one fan and I know she still is. I know she is all around us and I know she is watching all of us with the biggest grin on her face. I would do anything for another hug, but I know her love will forever surround me. Hey Nana, until we meet again, I'll be waiting for you in my dreams. I love you forever.
Posted by Barbara Simonetti on September 5, 2019
I knew Karen through the recreation profession. I taught and so had students at facilities all over the city. There never was and never will there ever be anyone else with as much joy, enthusiasm, and respect for the dignity of clients than Karen Nash. Long after I left the field, we would meet at Fran Wallach’s with Honey Shields for our annual holiday dinner. I would travel fromBoston to be there. I last saw Karen with Honey at a dinner in Queens. She was already diagnosed with this awful disease but you would have never known. She was her joyful, positive, beautiful self. Dance on my friend. I will always think of you and smile.
Posted by Ron Becker on September 2, 2019
I first heard of Karen when I filled the position she left at a facility in Queens, as Director of Recreation, 28 years ago. They informed me she was the "dancing director" and had left a reputation that was intimidating. I later met her at a NYSTRA conference and she was so sincere, open, welcoming and kind...I immediately felt like we were good friends. From that point on, we shared a ride to the many TR conferences upstate, giving us an opportunity to share history, dreams and what was going on in our current lives. She would talk about her family, of which she was so proud, her memories and joy of dancing and other exciting moments from living a creative and full life.
In the field of Therapeutic Recreation, she was a role model for so many, including myself. She was meticulous in preparing to present on any topic. She took her role seriously and her presentations always reflected her passion for the field and what TR did for others. I had the honor of co-presenting with her once and it challenged me to up my game. Her reputation as a Director in the field was much deserved and inspiring. The "Healing Mind Workshop", which she authored and presented in many health care facilities and at conferences, was a treasure and gift to others, helping them to live a better quality of life on many levels. She lived her life using the workshop's many pearls of wisdom and guidance.
Her outlook on life guided and helped her as she dealt with medical issues, which attests to her appreciating each day, focusing on the positive and accepting the light around and within us.
Her life was a blessing to others as she taught us to acknowledge and welcome the grace around us. Forever missed.
Posted by Randi Mazzella on August 30, 2019
I met Karen when I was about twelve years old and at that young age, she made quite an impression on me. She was so darn cool - a model of the type of person that I wanted to be when I grew up. I loved watching her and my aunt ( the Karens) and their friendship through the years. Before there was "Meredith and Christina" dancing it out on Grey's Anatomy - there was Karen and Karen dancing it out throughout NYC or on a Girls Trip. But as much as I admired Karen when I was young, I was even more in awe of her as an adult, especially throughout her health battles these past few years. When I saw her a few months ago, she told me a story I had never heard of her days dancing salsa in the Catskills. She never ceased to amaze me. My thoughts are with her kids, grandkids, family and friends - she will be missed but not forgotten. 
Posted by Linda Feinstein on August 30, 2019
Karen was such a great person. She was and is still an angel. We were friends, roommates in New Orleans, neighbors in Huntington, walking partners and we felt like sisters. We went to many a tribute that Karen achieved through her programs. Karen worked and played hard. She was very smart and spiritual as well. She told me that we all return to this earth to learn lessons that we need to know. Somehow, I agree with this concept.
I think Karen was the most positive person I have ever known.
We had a ton of fun with Karen and we loved to watch her dance, I cherish
the time and so does Bernie with such a wonderful friend. Karen will always remain in our hearts! Karen has blessed our lives!
Posted by Barbara Reilly on August 30, 2019
Karen was a guiding light at Gurwin. I met Karen in 1989 and watched as she encouraged everyone into being a "performer" at our Gurwin Talent Show! She was always happy with what we had to bring to the table, even if we hadn't a clue as to what to do. She always had a nice word to say about everyone and had infinite patience. Her talent and generous spirit will be missed. Everytime I hear a song that we "danced" to I think of Karen and smile. She was one of kind and will be sorely missed.
Posted by Carmen Artiles-Anderson on August 29, 2019
Dearest Karen,
You were such a special part of our lives. Our family along with your family had so many great times together. It was always a pleasure to know that you there. Always so given and loving. I can count on you for advice and suggestions and you would always had a positive answer! Gary, Lana, Vanessa and I will miss you forever!
With love,
Posted by Jason Katz on August 28, 2019
Karen Nash, my Nana. I miss her so much already. I used to describe my Nana as "not one of those old-fart grandma's that you picture when you hear the word 'grandma.' My Nana is full of energy, she's always smiling and she loves to dance." 

Somehow, through all the pain and frustration cancer brought, my Nana never laid down and cried "why me?" Instead, she wore a smile on her face, even joking around and laughing with family and nurses through the hardest times.

Nana never took herself too seriously. She told me countless stories of times she had messed up and been able to laugh at herself instead of getting angry or upset. She always preached a positive mental state, and I believe if there is any lesson she would want me to take from her it would be this one.

Laugh through the tough times. A positive mindset can bring so much good into the world. Nana never failed to make anyone smile. Her love and good energy, I feel, will never be forgotten by this world and I only hope that I can be as powerful a force of good as she had been.

I love you so much Nana, and although I know you'll always be in my heart and looking down from above, I will miss you forever.
Posted by Raymond Archer on August 27, 2019
I have worked in several professional TR roles with Karen over the years! On both boards, LILSA and NYSTRA we were on several committees together. She was the poster Women for TR. She was SMART, COMMITTED, FOCUSED PROFESSIONAL, ORGANIZED, CREATIVE, DEDICATED AND A ROLE MODEL for EVERYONE who had the privilege of meeting her. What wonderful thing could I possibly say about Karen that hasn’t been said already! Karen was a beautiful soul. Always kind... always sharing, always helping others! You’d here people talking about her and only had beautiful things to say! Karen was unique... as she would be the first to volunteer for a committee, a presentation or just about any job that needed to be done! Karen taught with me at SCCC and mentored many students and young professionals. She was a very special person... I have wonderful memories of her smiling and dancing, laughing and hugging. Thank you Karen!
She was amazing ... and I will miss my friend! God Bless you and all those who love you.
Posted by Lauren Petricca on August 27, 2019
Anyone who knows me, knows about my Aunt Karen because she was such a big part of my life. How blessed I have been to be loved so much and so unconditionally. From the moment I was born, Karen loved me and was a part of every aspect of my daily life. She gave of herself so fully and completely and never asked for anything in return. There are no words that could express how much I loved her and will miss her but I will keep her love with me always. I know there is a quote that goes something like this: "you only take with you in the next life what you gave away in this life". So my Aunt Karen, I know you take all the love you gave here with you and oh how much love that is. There is more love in this world because you lived.
Posted by Elaine Duca Abrahams on August 27, 2019
Karen was a beautiful person. If one had to describe her in one sentence, that would be it. Her family is her legacy. Emily and Jason had the best grandmother in the world. Her playfulness turned into dramatic scenes fencing with Jason as a toddler, and dancing with Emily. Her infectious smile shown through every time she looked at them. There are plenty of words that could describe Karen, but there are no words to describe the loss upon this world. She made a difference. That’s for sure. I’ll miss her. She showed me that being a grandma is a lot more than watching the children grow, but also enjoying and sharing in all their experiences, and encouraging them through it all. Love ❤️ you Karen
Posted by Joann Kaplan on August 27, 2019
Karen was the kind of woman who lit up a room as soon as she entered. Her love of life and her wonderful laughter will always remain in my heart. Karen danced through life with a smile and always saw the glass 3/4 full, despite the many struggles she endured these past years, but rarely ever spoke about her difficulties. Karen made friends wherever she went and treasured them. There are so many precious memories I hold dear in my heart but can't speak about them. Karen was angelic. She was never too busy to help out a former colleague and share her wisdom, etc. Karen didn't know how to say no. I will miss the funny times we shared at Gurwin and the times we spent out of work. I have so many beautiful memories. My heart aches, and it is difficult to think she won't be here to support and give love as she always did. The world is a little dimmer without your light. I look forward to meeting up with you again my love.
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Recent Tributes
Posted by Patti Dowsett on August 20, 2021
Karen - if I had a penny for every time I thought of you - I could finally afford to get my face lift!  Miss you
Posted by Isabel Tiffen on August 20, 2021
I'm so proud to have called you my friend. You made such a difference in the world, Karen You did so much to enrich the lives of others. We'll always miss you.
Posted by Sandie Cohen on August 20, 2021
God left a big void on this earth when he took you back home. After two years, I mourn your passing the same as I did when you left us. You were like no other; so full of your laughter and hugs and smiles; of our long and spiritual conversations; of true friendship that is called a bonding of heart and mind. My heart is hugging your heart, our mambo queen! Forever and always, Sandie
Recent stories

Our Dress up times

Shared by nadya dimitrov on September 1, 2021
How I miss getting ready for a party with you, dear 'sister' as you would call me.
We shared jewelry, especially native American style, and now I wear your necklace and watch. Each day I 'wear' a part of you, and feel you with me especially when I write in my journal or meditate. In fact, I am known for the fact that I encourage destressing with dance or music or mindfulness..
Love you always, Nadya
Shared by Dawn Lettau on August 20, 2021
Missing our talks and missing you. You are always in my heart. I often think WWKD and let all you taught and mentored guide me. Keep watching and keep dancing. 
Shared by Jeffrey Katz on August 20, 2021
Hi Mom,
I have been thinking of you a lot lately. I do not think that it is just missing you so much as that is a constant. I guess it is partly just watching the kids progress in their lives, and how much you have impacted the way that they navigate life as are now young adults. 

Today is a tough day as you know and I am a bit emotional as I write this. Dale and I were talking about you yesterday and we are both still so in awe of the positive impact that you had on so many people. You were and still are so loved by so many and you are truly missed.

I will see you in my dreams when you visit me. :)
All my love always,