Yolton, Karen Murray

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Karen Murray Yolton, 69, of Newport, Virginia left her earthly bonds Sunday morning, November 3, 2019 after a valiant battle to recover from the effects of a stroke which occurred on October 16. She was born on June 7, 1950 in Slaton, Texas, and was the daughter of the late Colonel Lynn Odell Murray and Lois Moudy Murray.

Being the daughter of a career military man, she travelled and lived in many places both in the United States and in Asia including Japan, Okinawa, and Taiwan. She started high school in Taiwan and finished in Northern Virginia where her dad was stationed at the Pentagon. She earned her undergraduate degree and her Masters degree at Virginia Tech where she met her husband of 43 years, David G. Yolton.

Although she taught kindergarten in Ballard West Virginia, and was an instructor of English at Virginia Tech while in graduate school, her true passion was teaching English at Giles High school in Pearisburg, Virginia from which she retired after 30 years of dedicated service. Karen had a passion for teaching English, particularly Beowulf, Chaucer, and Shakespeare. Among her many interesting and creative lessons, she required her students to memorize the first eighteen lines of the introduction to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Years later she would encounter former students who would proudly recite those lines for her. Because of her caring, kindness, and dedication, many of her former students would say that she was the best teacher they ever had.

Karen loved living in the “barn” in Newport that she and her husband, David, over many years converted from a pony barn without running water, and an outhouse, into to a unique hand-made chalet-like house. She loved camping and picnicking beside Sinking Creek, tending her flower beds, and indoor plants. She enjoyed painting greeting cards to send to friends for various occasions, and as well as painting and decorating gourds as a member of the New River Gourd Club. She was an avid reader and thoroughly enjoyed belonging to her book club. She was a founding member of the Giles Early Education Project (Geep), and a volunteer for many local causes. Her light will continue to shine for many years for those that knew her, and her dedication, honesty, and kindness will remain an example for her many friends and loved ones.

Karen leaves to cherish her memory her beloved husband, David; her son Benjamin and his wife Jennifer of Richmond, VA; her twin sister, Sharen Dyche of Kernersville, NC.; her niece Beth Rist (Drew) and nephew Bill Shieffer (Laura) of Dallas Texas; and her many friends, co-workers, and former students.

A Celebration of Karen’s life will be held at the Giles High School auditorium on November 24th beginning at 2 pm. Online condolences may be sent by visiting kendallfuneralhome.com