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Karen Louise (Turner) Hobbs

Austin, TX, 1960 - 2019

Karen Louise (Turner) Hobbs died on Saturday, August 3, 2019, at her home in Austin, Texas, after a five—year battle with cancer. She was born on August 22, 1960, in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Karen was retired military, serving in Desert Storm with the Nightingale Squadron at Scott AFB, airlifting the wounded from Ramstein AFB in Germany. After transferring to the reserves, Karen returned to Little Rock to obtain her RN degree and attend Officer's Training School to finish her Air Force career as a lieutenant.
While in Little Rock, Karen assisted Dr. John Ransom on Arkansas's historic first heart transplant. Working with Dr. CD Williams as his first assist in all heart surgeries, she helped to open the new Arkansas Heart Hospital as the OR team leader, a role which introduced her to her future husband, who was the project manager for the construction. They married in 1996 and moved to Austin, where Karen continued to work in the OR at various hospitals and surgery centers. Her nursing career ended in 2014 due to a stroke, which can be an indicator of cancer.
Karen is best known around the country as an artisan basket weaver and broom maker. As an instructor and mentor, she touched the lives of her students and other teachers wherever she worked. Focusing on her broom making, she took every opportunity in her travels to seek out other artisans to gain an even greater insight into the craft and the history behind it. It was during these travels that she collected the material to write her book "Swept Away…The Vanishing Art of Broom Making," which was one of her proudest achievements. Her hope was to inspire a new generation of broom makers to carry on the tradition.
Over the years, Karen touched many lives while she worked her magic, sparking a desire in others to work toward their dreams. Her creative skills included knitting, painting, embroidery, paper making, quilting, jewelry design, pottery, glass bead making, furniture caning, cake decorating, and others too numerous to list. Karen is survived by her husband George "Cisco" Hobbs of Austin, Texas; sister Sherry (Earl) Muehlfarth of St. Louis, Missouri; brother Michael Turner of North Little Rock, Arkansas; and rescue dogs Layla and Ivy.
Karen continued to embrace life and her passions through her five-year battle with cancer. One of her favorite quotes was "Sometimes Courage ROARS, sometimes it SMILES SWEETLY. Sometimes Courage is TEARS AND PAIN and sometimes it HUGS GENTLY. You WILL be strong; You WILL fight; Your light WILL keep shining BRIGHT. May your STRENGTH AND COURAGE be lifted each day, and your FAITH stay strong all along the way, COURAGE ON!"
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Thursday, August 22, 2019, 10:30 a.m., at Ranch Austin, 10313 Circle Drive, Austin, Texas. Please join the family for a festive remembrance of Karen's life… no ties allowed! Karen was a life-long animal lover, especially her dogs. In lieu of flowers, the family would ask that donations be made to Texas Humane Heroes in her memory through their website

Published August 9, 2019