Life Story

Karen Ann Pritchard Dexter

Obituaries in Geneseo, IL | Geneseo Republic

Karen Ann Pritchard Dexter

Davenport - Karen Ann Pritchard Dexter, 76, of Davenport passed away on Thursday, November 25, 2021 at the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House surrounded by her family.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, December 3rd at Christ Family Church, Davenport. Visitation will be held from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evening at McGinnis-Chambers Funeral Home, Bettendorf. Inurnment will be at the Rock Island National Cemetery. Memorials may be directed to St. Jude Childrens Hospital or to Christ Family Church.

Karen was born on August 1, 1945 at St. Luke's Hospital in Davenport, the daughter of W. Willard and Lois M. (Hebbel) Pritchard. She was an independent and active child who loved tap dancing lessons and performing. She was a member of a tap trio which once appeared on a local television station. Karen attended Davenport schools until the family moved to Geneseo, Illinois in October of 1952. In Geneseo, Karen enjoyed many activities including Brownies, Girl Scouts, 4-H, the First Congregational Church Youth Group, piano lessons, and clarinet instruction.

In middle school and high school, Karen engaged in concert band, marching band, speech and debate, Athenian and Thespian theater clubs, and many other pursuits. She was chosen as first chair alto clarinet in the State of Illinois concert band. After graduating from Geneseo High School in 1963, she began her college career.

Since suffering a profound hearing loss as a child, Karen used many ways to compensate for it and was always aware of articulation and projection in speaking. Therefore, it was natural for her to pursue a speech curriculum in college, as well as an education course of study. She worked tirelessly for the college theater department in many capacities because she loved the "stage." She played many roles in many plays including the title role in "The Mad Woman of Chaillot", "Brecht On Brecht", "Yerma", and others. Karen graduated from Marycrest College with a double major in speech and elementary education. She also took some graduate courses at Illinois State University.

After college, Karen began her teaching career in Davenport as a first grade teacher at Madison Elementary, later taking a position at Eisenhower Elementary. She was well-liked by faculty and parents, and provided a sound learning environment for her students. Karen wanted all her first graders to be well prepared for their continuing education, and they were!

Karen married James T. Dexter, a school administrator, on December 22, 1978 at the First Congregational Church in Geneseo. They were blessed with one son, David C. Dexter, in 1980. In 2001, she retired from teaching. Karen enjoyed many hobbies, including knitting prayer shawls, reading, theater productions, music, visiting with family and friends, daily devotions and prayers, and so much more. She was a firm believer in the power of prayer! She was a member of Christ Family Church and Alpha Delta Kappa, an honorary educator's sorority.

Those left to honor her memory are her son, David (Brenda) Dexter, and their children, Madden and Harper, all of Davenport; her only brother, Michael Pritchard of Champaign, Illinois; her aunt, Alice Hebbel; and many cousins, friends, associates, neighbors, and her church family.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, James, in February of 2021.

Karen's friendship, good advice, understanding, commitment, generosity, and laughter will be forever missed!

Online condolences may be shared with Karen's family at

Posted online on November 30, 2021

Published in Geneseo Republic