In memory of
Karen Maria Luhring Lips
Karen Maria Luhring Lips Jan. 11, 1940 - Apr. 7, 2017 Salinas Karen Maria Luhring Lips, age 77, passed away peacefully on April 7th after a courageous 4-year battle with Amyloidosis. Karen was married to Dr. Philip James Lips for 55 years. The two met at USC dental school, and were married soon after graduating. Karen was the love of my life it was so wonderful being with her for the last 55 years. I remember where we met at USC when Dr. O'Grady suggested that I give her a tour of the darkroom and although I don't think anything happened that day, it was where it all began. I remember getting married on Pico Avenue in L.A., boy what a time we had. The reception was in her mother's backyard. Her stepfather who was the dean of admissions at USC had gotten ice sculptures from a party they had just thrown. Then there was the honeymoon. Because our friends had taken the wheels off my car, we had to sneak out a side window of my apartment to get away. Our dear friend John loaned us his convertible so that we had a way to leave. We went to Disneyland for our honeymoon and stayed overnight on the seventh floor of the hotel. I think we were the only ones on that floor, at least that's what it felt like. We had a wonderful dinner with chateaubriand, which was my favorite, and we had strawberries and champagne in our room, it was very romantic. After that night we had to go back to USC and that was the end of our brief honeymoon. Our real honeymoon took place a number of weeks afterward. We went to the backcountry in Mammoth Lakes with Bob and Katie and rode our horses. We had mules that carried all of our stuff, If I recall one of them loved pancakes. We then went up to Cascade Valley and set up camp and had a lovely time. A few months later we came back and began to look for a place to live and set up the dental practice. We went up to Marin County and looked around and came down to Salinas because we found a fellow who we could associate with. We waited around for a while and then decided the heck with it and we set up our own practice together. Karen as the dental hygienist, myself as a dentist fresh out of USC, it really gave us a feeling of being part of the profession. I was especially proud of Karen, she was one of three dental hygienist's in Monterey County. She did everything she could to promote dental hygiene. Not too long after that, she became the first hygienist to be associated with the Cabrillo College Dental Hygiene Program and I worked as a teacher. That lasted for a few years. Karen was a strong advocate for dental hygienists and worked to educate people that dental hygiene was an actual asset to any dental practice. She really pushed for it and I was so proud of her for doing that because now dental hygiene in the United States is such a well-respected profession. Eleven months after we were married we had George, our first born. We then went on to adopting two children Maria and Paul and then had another baby of our own Peter, we were a happy mixed family. Karen did such a great job raising our family all the while being an active partner in the practice. We have been blessed with so many incredible friendships in our lives. We enjoyed hosting many parties, we especially loved the Christmas parties. Karen was also interested in music, so she began to take courses at San Jose State to learn more about music and conducting. She then took over the Sacred Heart church choir and did a wonderful job there. She also instituted the Panther Chorus at Hartnell College and the St. Cecilia Singers at Sacred Heart. I can't tell you how many people she brought into singing and acting through Panther Chorus and the St. Cecilia Singers. Karen enjoyed putting on the yearly Christmas show. We had so much fun entertaining people, especially with the Yule fools, and I dressed up as the ballerina Suzy Snowflake. It was kind of silly, but we had so much fun. After her involvement at Sacred Heart ended she became the choir director for San Carlos Parish in Monterey. She had the position at San Carlos for twelve years and did an exceptional job. One of the highlights of the year was the jazz mass during the weekend of the Monterey Jazz Festival. I am so proud of all that she accomplished. This has been such a wonderful life with her. Karen has been my rock, she gave me strength. All that came to a sudden stop when she was diagnosed with Amyloidosis. No one knows where it comes from and it's relatively rare, but she got it, and it sapped all the energy out of her. We worked to keep her strong enough for one last big family vacation to Maui to stay at the Napili Kai Resort with all the family and grandkids. We had a great time and she enjoyed being surrounded by family. We had a room overlooking Napili Bay and it was incredible, that was our sendoff for her. I think she knew because after that she became weaker and not able to keep up with things physically. I loved Karen dearly, she contributed so much to this world, she will be greatly missed. Service for Karen will be on April 20th at 10:00 at San Carlos Cathedral with a reception in the church hall afterward. Those of you that knew Karen know that she was known for her outfits, at times her big hats and unique jewelry. In her honor, please feel free to wear your favorite Easter hat or bright colored outfit to her service. View the online memorial for Karen Maria Luhring Lips
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