Jean B. Karpen (Karnosh) passed away Sunday, January 3, 2021 at the age of 96. Born Jean Betty Karnosh on August 13th, 1924, she was the oldest of three sisters. Jean began working at the age of 12 in her parents' bakery in Cleveland, Ohio. After graduating from West Technical High School, she worked as a receptionist for a group of doctors at an outpatient clinic. It was while working there that she met the love of her life, Walter C. Karpen, on a blind date. They were married on January 22, 1949.
The couple moved to Richfield, Ohio in 1955 where they built their first home, a house built by her husband, father and brother in law. The three men worked on the house evenings and weekends without electricity. Theirs was the first house in the subdivision, and electricity had yet to be run to the house. They raised three children in the house where she continued to live independently until she was 93.
Jean enjoyed mowing her own grass with her 1966 Wheel Horse tractor, canning fruit, and crocheting mittens, scarves and skull caps worn by soldiers in their helmets for extra warmth. She was a warm and selfless person, most of all to her family she cherished so dearly. She was known for her great baking and cooking skills, particularly her fruit and pumpkin pies. It was not uncommon for Jean to take a Sunday drive or make a special trip to share her delicious homemade cookies, custard puffs and lentil soup with her children.
After her husband's passing in 1973, she began volunteering at the VA hospital in Brecksville, OH where her husband had worked. She volunteered at the VA hospital for over 30 years until the hospital was closed in May, 2011. Jean had a sharp mind, even in the weeks preceding her passing, and she found joy in working on her crossword puzzle books and word searches. She regularly sent emails to remind her loved ones that she was thinking of them, never missing a birthday or holiday, sending her heartfelt electronic greeting cards. As Jean herself said, parts of her life may have looked "rough," but she took comfort in knowing her family stuck together through it all.
Jean was preceded in death by her parents Charles and Elizabeth Karnosh, her husband Walter and her beloved sisters Jacqueline Bernard and Rita Shankland. She is survived by son Charles and his wife Yi, son James and his wife Kathy, daughter Judy Demchak and her husband Brad, grandchildren Jessica Sullivan (Dan), Tim Karpen (Christine), Dana Demchak, Hayley Demchak and great-grandchildren Wes, Everett, and Beau as well as many loved nieces and nephews. A private family burial will be held at West Richfield Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please keep her loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.
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