Karen L. Nace, a homemaker and active church volunteer, died Wednesday of ovarian cancer at Carroll Hospice's Dove House in Westminster.
She was 54.
Karen Louise Armetta was born in Baltimore and raised in Hamilton. After graduating from Seton High School in 1973, she went to work for the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the next seven years.
"That's where we met," said her husband of 34 years, Richard L. Nace, an environmental engineer for the federal Department of Energy.
A longtime resident of Taylorsville, Mrs. Nace was an active member of Taylorsville United Methodist Church, where she participated in many areas of church life.
She served as secretary to the United Methodist Women, taught vacation Bible school, and was a member of the craft committee for the church's annual Christmas bazaar.
An alto, she sang in the church choir and was an active member of the Mission Committee and Feed My Sheep, a soup kitchen.
"Karen will surely be missed. She had a gift of kindness and generosity not seen in other people," said the Rev. Sarah B. Dorrance, pastor of Taylorsville United Methodist Church. "She was truly a reflection of Jesus Christ."
Ms. Dorrance said that for years Mrs. Nace served in "many capacities" at the church.
"Thousands were touched by what she did. She was a very humble person who wanted no acclamation," she said. "If there was a meal that needed to be made. Karen was there. If someone needed a kind word. Karen was there."
Ms. Dorrance added: "Karen lived out her faith in what she did."
There was talk of perhaps canceling this year's Christmas bazaar.
"I talked it over with her husband and we agreed that we should go ahead with it because it would honor Karen and her years of hard work," Ms. Dorrance said.
Kimberly M. Gorsuch, a longtime close friend and church member, also served with Mrs. Nace on the crafts committee.
"She was always very giving and thinking of others," said Mrs. Gorsuch.
Mrs. Nace also visited the sick and the elderly, bringing them food and driving them to medical appointments.
She also collected donations for the Appalachian Store, which is not affiliated with her church. The organization collects and distributes housewares and clothing to the needy of Appalachia.
When her children were attending Mount Airy Elementary and Middle schools, Mrs. Nace was a bookstore volunteer and chaired the school's annual book fair.
Mrs. Nace was an accomplished quilter and duckpin bowler.
"I had to quit bowling because she kept beating me," said her husband, laughing.
Mrs. Nace enjoyed attending quilting classes and making quilts, which she gave to family and friends.
"She was always fun to hang out with and go fabric shopping or doing crafts," said Mrs. Gorsuch, who lives in Sykesville. "People thought that Karen was quiet. She was a good listener and a very thoughtful person."
Mr. Nace said his wife liked vacationing in the mountains.
"We'd go to West Virginia, North Carolina and Maine. She loved Vermont, and so we'd always try to go there for our anniversary," he said.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at her church, 4356 Ridge Road, Taylorsville.
Also surviving are a son, Ryan J. Nace of Taylorsville; a daughter, Laura M. Nace of Taylorsville; her parents, Michael F. and Gloria Mary Armetta of Baltimore; and a sister, Rosemary Hopkins of Baltimore.