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WARSAW- Karen Lovina (Allen) Locke, 75, passed away Wednesday, August 2, 2023 at her home surrounded by family.
She was born Aug. 18, 1947 in Coshocton to the late James Dillino Allen, Jr. and Beulah M. (Simmons) Allen. From early on, Karen loved the family farm and their rural way of life just east of New Castle. Established in 1910 by her great-grandfather, the farm had been passed down through the generations and she was honored to work hard and continue their legacy. Karen was a 1965 graduate of Warsaw High School and spent her entire life working on the farm where she grew up. Family was very important to Karen and together with her husband Leon, they lovingly raised their family on the homestead.
Another love of Karen’s was music. At the age of three she began twirling the baton as a majorette for the Walhonding Rube Band while her father played. Never missing a year since 1950, it was truly her passion to play the baritone for them and share her love of music with the surrounding communities of Central Ohio. She also loved to sing and as long as she was able you could always find her singing in her home, the church choir or the annual Warsaw Lions Club Minstrel Show.
Karen loved her church and sought out ways to help those in need. She believed in the value of volunteerism and leadership, serving in various roles over the years. A former 4-H’er herself, she knew the impact 4-H could have on a young person’s life. She was a 4-H leader for over 40 years, teaching and providing a place to learn by doing. Karen felt that one of the most important roles she held was volunteering for and organizing the Annual Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Bean Dinner at McElwee Park in New Castle, where she also served on the Park Committee.
She was a dedicated advocate for agriculture and land conservation efforts. Karen was a committed member and President of the Coshocton Co. Farm Bureau, the Coshocton-Tuscarawas Lamb & Fleece Committee, the Warsaw Lioness Club and the Ohio Sheep and Wool Board. She felt so honored to be recognized as the Ohio Sheep Improvement Association’s 2014 Ohio Master Shepherd, the YWCA Tribute to Women of Achievement honoree, the Future Farmers of America Outstanding Service Award recipient and Coshocton County’s Outstanding Conservation Farmer.
Multiple times their farm was used as the sheep stop on the Coshocton County Farm Foliage Tour where she worked tirelessly to promote the natural beauty and splendor of Coshocton County. Karen was also always interested in politics and spent over 20 years as an Elections Officer and Presiding Judge of the New Castle Township precinct.
She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Leon E. Locke of Warsaw, whom she married Nov. 27, 1965; four children, Lisa (Chuck) Johnson of Warsaw, L. Alan (Denise) Locke of Royce City, TX, Linda (Ben) Fox of Dauphin, Manitoba Canada, Laura (Jason) Kehler of Carman, Manitoba Canada; eleven grandchildren, Bryan (Whitney) Johnson, Kaci Locke (Jake Johnson), Bradley (Natasha) Johnson, Kori (Marshall) Hall, Emma Fox, Sutherland Fox, Benjamin Fox, Paisley Kehler, Wyatt Kehler, Ruby Fox, and Sarah Fox; five great-grandchildren with one expected, Tucker Hall, Aiden Johnson, Barrett Johnson, Avery Johnson, and Carter Hall; her nieces & nephews, Teena (Tino) Shaw, Michael (Brooke) Shaw, Scott (Ashley) Shaw and Cole, Shanua (Arshid) Joo and Ciara Berry, Bryan Allen and Zane, Ann Marie (Steve) Carr and Mackenzie & Zac; and two sisters-in-law, Pat Locke and Mary Allen.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by two brothers, Jerry Lee Allen & James Dillino Allen, III; and a brother-in-law, George Locke.
Visitation will begin at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023 with a 2 p.m. Celebration of Life at Fischer Funeral Home in Warsaw, with Pastor Ashley McMillin officiating. The family wishes to invite all friends to a meal and time of fellowship at McElwee Park in New Castle directly following. Private burial will take place at the Giffen Cemetery in New Castle. www.fischerfuneralhome.com
Memorial donations may be made to the McElwee Park Fund, c/o Doug Anderson, 23373 SR 206 Warsaw, OH 43844.