Karen (Orr) Conoan died peacefully at home on April 27, 2014 in La Vista, Nebraska, surrounded by her loving family.
Karen was known throughout the Omaha area as a harpist, music educator, and worship director whose career spanned over 40 years. She began her study of the harp in high school. She went on to graduate from Wayne (Nebraska) State College with a degree in music education. She taught band and vocal music to students from kindergarten through high school. Later she became a string specialist with the Omaha Public Schools and taught harp lessons privately.
For more than 25 years Karen was the music director and worship coordinator at St. Columbkille Catholic Church in Papillion, Nebraska. During this time she earned the degree Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University. She was on the faculty of the St. Cecilia Institute for Sacred Liturgy, Music and the Arts and she was appointed Harpist to the late Archbishop Daniel Sheehan. Many homebound viewers enjoyed the music she provided for Mass for Shut-Ins on television. Upon her retirement from St. Columbkille, she received a certificate from Pope John Paul II commending her service. Her Catholic faith was a central pillar of her life.
Karen loved to play in the pit orchestra for musical theater. She played with several community orchestras. She played for hundreds of weddings and special occasions. Karen was the president of the Great Plains Chapter of the American Harp Society. She enjoyed meeting the public and was a true ambassador for the harp with her friendly and gracious personality.
Karen is survived by her husband of 43 years, John; her sons Ken and Michael; her daughters Carolyn Harvey and Tricia McIntosh; her mother Esther Orr; her brothers Tom, Lynn, and John; her sister Sue; and seven grandchildren. She also leaves behind a large extended family and many friends. She and harpist Anita Clark Jaynes were friends for 50 years.
Karen was preceded in death by her father, Clinton Orr, and two infant sons.
She will be remembered for her great love of family, dedication to the harp, spirituality, and vibrant spirit. She will be greatly missed.