Karen Bowles (Riggs) 85, of Killington passed away on December 12, 2022. She was predeceased by her husband, George. She is survived by her brother Peter, sisters-in-law Margaret Powers and Lucy Bowles, brother-in-law Raymond Bowles and many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Karen was born in 1937 to Irene Manning Riggs and Oliver Riggs and grew up in Westfield and Wayland, Massachusetts. She graduated from Syracuse University and began her career as an elementary school teacher.
It was then that Karen took up skiing (thanks to her mother allowing Karen to delay repayment of a car loan so she could afford to ski). Karen met George through the Westchester Skiers Club and they were married in 1963. They were Killington season pass holders beginning in 1969. In 1975, they built their first ski house in Killington and the home they would eventually retire to in 1984. After 25 years of commuting to Vermont on weekends from Putnam Valley, NY, they moved to Killington after retiring from teaching in 1993.
Karen was a beloved family icon who, with George, shared a deep and abiding love of the natural and artistic world and who cultivated an adoring network of family and friends. She lived a fun, intentional, and fulfilling life. Their home in Killington was a warm and inviting gathering place: full of laughter, conversation, and bonding.
Karen was very involved in mountain life; skiing, biking, birding, snowshoeing, golf, and hiking were favorite pastimes. She was quite proud of earning her official 80-plus skier sticker and enjoyed riding the first chair at Pico with family and friends when conditions were favorable. Always active, Karen participated in fitness, aquacise, and yoga classes at the Pico Fitness Center until her 80s. As she would joke, “Not bad for someone who failed gym in college”. Her care for the environment and love of nature was a big part of her life – as the well-fed birds on her property can attest.
Karen was also involved in the arts and regularly attended the Metropolitan Opera broadcasts at the Paramount in Rutland, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra concerts and often took along family members to those cultural events. An avid and talented quilter, Karen was a member of the Maple Leaf Quilters; she was very dedicated to selling tickets to their Festival of Quilts annual raffle, including to this April’s event. She will be missed by her bridge club.
Never without a book or two going and a member of several book clubs, Karen was always ready with a recommended “good read” in a host of genres. Her reading often complemented her travel plans: she enjoyed adventures throughout her life – camping across the US with George, and trips to most continents curated by VPR and Road Scholar. Always a teacher, she was a lifelong learner whose curiosity involved her in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UVM; she enjoyed their local programming and attending lectures from UVM faculty.
Karen was very involved in supporting natural, artistic, and intellectual organizations in Vermont and would be happy knowing that family and friends are supporting Vermont Public Radio, Vermont Public Television, Audubon Vermont, Vermont Institute for Natural Science, Vermont Symphony Orchestra, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UVM.