KNOX — At 16, Karen Edson had already performed as a pianist in Carnegie Hall. Nearing age 80, she had shared her gift for music with hundreds of Hilltown children, and thousands more listeners.
Karen L. Edson died on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. She was 79.
“She believed it was a gift from God,” said Stacey McArdle, Mrs. Edison’s daughter, of her musical talents.
Mrs. Edson was born in Bergen County, N. J. on Nov. 12, 1933, the daughter of Charles and Thelma Blaser. She grew up in Dumont, N. J. with four brothers, and developed a love for baseball and football, a fan of the Mets and the Giants.
At 7 years old, Mrs. Edson began piano lessons.
“She started probably with a family member, and, when they realized how talented she was, they found her a teacher in New York City,” her daughter said.
After graduating from nursing school in Boston, Mrs. Edson worked for a pediatrician in Bergen County and met her husband, George Edson. They were married for 53 years — their union ending only with her death — and raised three children.
“She was a very warm and caring, no-nonsense person,” said Mrs. McArdle. “That was just part of her personality, just part of her nature.”
Mrs. Edson directed a chorus of over 150 singers as a member of the New Jersey Women’s Club.
When Mr. Edson retired as an electrical engineer for Bendix 26 years ago, the couple moved to Knox, following their daughter Lori and her husband, Steven Antal, after he graduated from RPI.
They had an old farmhouse with 75 acres, where Mrs. Edson enjoyed gardening, crocheting and crafting.
For around 20 years, Mrs. Edson played the organ and directed choirs at the South Berne Church and the Knox Reformed Church, where they would perform cantatas. She volunteered to accompany Duanseburg and Berne-Knox-Westerlo students at Christmas concerts.
Though she was open to many different styles of music, her daughter said, Mrs. Edson, who founded the Hilltown Gospel Singers, especially enjoyed classical, gospel, and patriotic hymns. She was a deeply patriotic woman.
The lines of the chorus to one of Mrs. Edson’s favorite hymns, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” capture her devotion to both her faith and her country: “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!”
Karen L. Edson is survived by her husband, George; her children, Lori Antal and her husband, Steven, Stacey McArdle and her husband, Paul, Sergeant First Class United States Army, retired, and Richard Edson; her grandchildren, Jennifer Antal, Lisa Antal and her fiancé, Ernie Seabury, Kevin Antal, Drew McArdle, and John McArdle.
Her parents, Charles and Thelma Blaser, died before her, as did her four brothers.
Memorial service and burial will follow in the spring. Arrangements are by the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in her memory to the Knox Reformed Church, P.O. Box 86, Knox, NY 12107.
— Marcello Iaia