Karen Kolkka

Karen M Kolkka

1962 - 2023

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Obituary of Karen M Kolkka

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Karen Kolkka was an artist, art teacher, environmentalist, beloved wife, sister, aunt, friend, mentor, colleague and dedicated professional.

Karen’s passion was art and teaching art.  She joyously and diligently worked to inspire and encourage creativity in everyone she met.  She was proud to be part of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy for more than 20 years, having been granted honorary alumnae status in 2017.  Her studio at SCH became a sanctuary for her students. It was a space that freed each child’s mind to create and encourage their artistic pursuits. In her quiet way, Karen showed her students that their ideas mattered and their voices had a place. 

Karen was an elegant, exquisite and stellar human being whose life mission was simple: create beauty, freely share your love, be kind, care for each other and care for the planet.  She was always positive, always assuming the best of those around her. She was an attentive listener and if asked, always gave encouraging but honest feedback. 

Karen from early childhood was an environmental advocate, collecting recyclables, creating her own canvas lunch bag, far before it became in vogue to do so.  She was in love with nature and the earth and happiest outdoors whether in the starkest of deserts or the lushness of our gorgeous Pennsylvania woods and forests.  Nature was Karen’s happy place; she loved exploring. The trees, forests, rivers, rocks, plants, and animals were an integral part of her “home”.  Most of the 20K photographs in her archives reflect that love and respect. 

Karen believed in service and expended her energy towards causes she loved.  As a teacher she contributed her thoughtful perspective to many endeavors, projects, committees, boards and panels.  As a business owner she helped create a culture of inclusion, tolerance, acceptance and joy. 

Karen was quietly vivacious and gracefully loving. She was kind, generous, unselfish, and was well-known for her smile. Her authenticity shone in each moment and touched each person like a ray of sunshine piercing through the clouds from the heavens above.  She had an innate ability to truly “see” people.   She saw the world through her magnanimous blue eyes and could offer you an insight and perspective that was like no other, a true gift.  Karen’s smile would simply melt away others fears and worries and she would illuminate any space she stood in.

Karen was loved and Karen will be eternally loved.  Just as she shared her love from a seemingly infinite well, with her family, friends, colleagues and students.  

Karen was the daughter of the late Robert and Roberta Kolkka of Plymouth Meeting and is survived by her spouse Jane Lipton of 36 years, brother- Paul Kolkka (Connie), sister- Jennifer Davies (Kolkka), 13 nieces and nephews. 

A celebration of Karen's life will be held on Saturday October 21st. at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, McCausland Lower School, Duran Hall located at 8000 Cherokee St. Phila PA 19118.  The family will receive guests at 11am with the service beginning at 12 noon. 


In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to The Kolkka Arts Enrichment Fund that has been established at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy to support SCH students expression and exploration of the creative arts.  

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Karen Kolkka

In Loving Memory

Karen Kolkka

1962 - 2023

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