Karen Maxine Hensley Meinardus, 72, of Georgetown, Texas passed away peacefully on March 11, 2020.

Graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21 at Oaklawn Memorial Park Cemetery located at 4609 North Hwy. 71, El Campo. The Rev. Dr. Erin McGee of First Presbyterian Church will be officiating. A memorial service to celebrate her adventurous life will be scheduled at a later date.

Karen was born in El Campo April 30, 1947. She graduated from El Campo High School. In 1972, Karen received her bachelor of science in education, special education and psychology from the University of Houston. In 1974, Karen received her master’s in education administration from the University of Houston and Karen also received her Juris Doctorate from South Texas School of Law.

Karen was married to Lesley Meinardus for 40 years, from 1966 until 2006.

Karen started her career as a special education teacher and she later became the special education director for El Campo ISD. She taught education administration at the University of Houston from 1978-1980.

Before becoming an attorney, Karen lobbied the Texas Legislature to improve the laws and create regulations for group homes in Texas. This experience sparked her enthusiasm for law, leading her to serve as county attorney of Wharton County, Texas from 1997-2000.

Karen was a member of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority and a member of the Rotary Club. Karen was active in legal organizations, including College of the State Bar of Texas, Life Member of the Texas Bar Foundation and Burta Rhoads Raborn Inns of Court. And, Karen served on the El Campo City Counsel for two terms from 1991-1994.

Karen’s hobbies included watercolor painting, traveling the world and writing. Karen studied advanced novel writing at Rice University from 1994-1998 and won several awards for her short stories. She also co-authored “The Wharton County Texas Pictorial 100 Year History 1846-1946.”

In her younger years, Karen participated in rodeos from ages three to 16. She also enjoyed goose hunting in her father’s rice fields and deer hunting in South Texas. She was an avid sports fan and season ticket holder of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans.

Karen was an active member of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo where she was captain of the hospitality committee and was part of the Rodeo Clown Team on the speakers committee. She enjoyed dressing as a rodeo clown and giving speeches to elementary and middle schools on the “History of Rodeos” and “History of Rodeo Clowns’” and on various Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo events. Her real passion was dedicating her time to the Sunshine Kids of Houston and to the Cancer Unit at Texas Children’s Hospital. Making a child smile, despite their pain or chronic condition, is what truly touched Karen’s heart.

Karen once said, “When you answer a request for participation in events, it is not just about the points you earn, it is about the magic of making a child’s day special, regardless of their location, situation or level of ability to interact with you – it is all about heart! And you come away blessed.”

One of Karen’s colleagues described her “As an intelligent and motivated attorney, Karen is well known within the state of Texas and beyond as providing compassionate legal services to her clients. Karen is able to balance a successful career with both her vast community services activities and her family. And I am amazed at her energy.”

She is preceded in death by her parents, Frank and Dorothy Hensley and her son-in-law, Richard “Rick” Barker.

Karen is survived by her daughters, Anissa Barker and Karma Shepard; grandson, Blaine Barker and step-granddaughter, Mykayla Lockhart.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to the Sunshine Kids Foundation of Houston, Texas and the Wesleyan Hospice of Georgetown, Texas.

Condolences may be left for the family online at www.triskafuneralhome.com

Arrangements are under the direction of Triska Funeral Home, El Campo.

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