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Karen L. Pletz, age 64 years, of Kansas City, Mo., passed away Tuesday, November 22, 2011, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She was born September 28, 1947, in Kansas City, Mo., the daughter of R. Marvin and Virginia Lee Harmon Owens, of Columbia, Mo. On December 26, 1975, she was united in marriage to John S. (Jack) Pletz, of Jefferson City. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri (B.S. Education, 1969, Juris Doctorate, 1978). She received the College of Education Alumni Award in 1998, and she was again honored in 2002, with the Faculty Alumni Award for outstanding achievement. Karen passed the Missouri Bar in February, 1978, and began work for Central Bank. In 1983 and 1984, she practiced law as a partner with Cook, Vetter, Doerhoff, and Pletz, returning to Central Bank Company as a Senior Vice President in 1984, heading the Trust and Financial Management Division, the Retail Banking Division, and the Marketing Division. Active in community service throughout her career, she served on the Boards of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, The United Way, the SMHC Board of Regents, and the Memorial Hospital Board of Governors. She was active in the establishment of the SMHC Foundation and served as its first President. She chaired the Jefferson City Area United Way Campaign in 1984, and again in 1993, both times surpassing the goal. She was a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking (1987) and a recipient of the Honors Library Award for her thesis, which remains a permanent part of the Harvard Business Library collection. She left Jefferson City in 1995, when she was named to the Presidency at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, serving there until December, 2009. She was committed to excellence in medical education and to urban redevelopment, making KCUMB a catalyst for positive change in the greater Kansas City community. During her 16 years in Kansas City, she served on the Boards of Kansas City Southern, Commerce Bank, and Missouri Employers Mutual. She chaired the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce (2004), the Kansas City Area Development Council (2008), and the Civic Council of Kansas City (2009), and gave countless hours of service to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations, including The Greater Kansas City Area United Way, chairing the Campaign in 2007, for the third time exceeding the community goal. She was a longtime member of the Boards of Health Midwest, Midwest Bioethics, the Arts Council of Kansas City, Rockhurst University, Stowers Institute, The Great Rivers Council of The Boy Scouts of America, and the American Osteopathic Foundation. She was appointed to the inaugural Board of the Healthcare Foundation of Kansas City, and she chaired the Governor's Roundtable on Education in 2002. A tireless advocate for the underserved, she received the Central Exchange Kansas City's Woman of the Year Award (2004), the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Athena Award (2007), and the Jewish Community Relations Award (2009), honoring her service in the advancement of human rights throughout her career, among many other awards. Karen had grace, courage, and a genuine concern for others. She will be missed. She is survived by her husband, Jack Pletz of Jefferson City; two daughters, Brittany E. Marten and her husband, Anthony of Chicago and Casey L. Pletz, of Kansas City; her parents, R. Marvin and Virginia Owens of Columbia; her two sisters, Susan L. Dasta, D.O. of Kansas City and Leslie A. Owens of St. Louis; and her granddaughter, Alexandra Elizabeth Marten. Friends will be received from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday, November 26, 2011, at St. Stanislaus Church in Wardsville, Mo. Mass of Christian Burial will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Saturday at St. Stanislaus Church with the Reverend Michael Coleman and the Reverend Gregory Meystrik officiating. Private graveside services will be held at Memorial Park Cemetery in Columbia. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the United Way of Central Missouri Foundation or The Greater Kansas City Area United Way. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Freeman Mortuary. www.freemanmortuary.com
Services LocationFreeman Mortuary
- 915 Madison Street Jefferson City, Mo 65101
- Fax 573-636-7513
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