Karen M. Walkney Mrdjenovich, 55, Altoona, formerly of Pittsburgh, died Friday at Altoona Regional Health System, Altoona Hospital Campus, after a courageous battle with cancer.
She was born in Pittsburgh, daughter of the late John Ripepi and Dorthea (Walkney) Liebenberg. She married Dr. Donald E. Mrdjenovich on Oct. 16, 1993.
Surviving are her husband, Don, a son, Derek, and a daughter, Ariana, all at home; a sister, Shannon D'Ermo in Rhode Island; and a brother, John Burney in New Jersey.
Karen M. Walkney Mrdjenovich
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Ernest T. and Mary Walkney.
Karen graduated from Churchill High School, attended Rochester Institute of Technology and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. She was a professor of American Sign Language at St. Francis University and previously was a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and Penn State University. Karen was the former Miss Deaf Pennsylvania, former director of Beautiful Hands performances in American Sign Language and former board member of Pennsylvania Society for the Advancement of the Deaf and Hearing and Deaf Services. She was involved with Relay For Life and Voices of Hope and was an instrumental advocate for the Deaf. She was a member of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.
Friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 6, 2010, and from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, at The Stevens Mortuary Inc., 1421 Eighth Ave., Altoona (www.stevensmortuary.com), where a vigil for the deceased will be held. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.
Committal will be at Rose Hill Cemetery.