Karen F. Whitman

September 22, 1941 ~ December 31, 2023 (age 82) 82 Years Old

Karen Whitman Obituary

Karen F. Whitman, formerly of Amherst, NY, passed away on December 31, 2023, in Ithaca, NY.

Karen is survived by her children, Megan (Paul Allen) and Lisa (Niall Boyce) Whitman, and Ricky Briggs. She was preceded in death by her parents, Jesse L. and Mildred (Hostbjor) Ferris, her sister Linda M. Ferris, and her former husband, Clifford E. Whitman. 

Karen was born in Albany, NY, on September 22, 1941. She had fond and lasting memories of growing up in East Greenbush, NY, in a house her dad built. She graduated from Columbia High School, Harpur College (Binghamton University), and earned her Masters in Social Work from Syracuse University. After graduating, she began working at the State Hospital in Binghamton where she met Cliff, a fellow social worker. They were married in 1967 and in 1971 relocated to Buffalo for work, settling in Snyder to raise their daughters.

The outdoors were central to Karen’s life and the spirit of adventure never left her. Karen’s preference was to be outside and she was forever curious about the natural world. She grew up swimming and skating on Kinderhook Creek, enjoyed camping with her family from a very young age, and spent summers at Girl Scout camps. In college, she spent a year at the University of Edinburgh, joining the crew team and traveling through Europe during breaks. Later, she and Cliff spent their honeymoon driving across the US and Canada, camping and kayaking along the way. In addition to annual trips she took with her extended family, she loved road trips with just her sister, trips to the Cape or Chautauqua with her girlfriends, and RVing in her retirement. She always frequented local parks and enjoyed walking, gardening, and birdwatching,

Professionally, Karen was a skilled social worker who provided counseling and support to people facing life’s challenges. The work aligned with her gentle spirit and call to service.

Karen cherished her friends and, in her final months, said her greatest wealth was the friendships that she nurtured throughout her life. If you were fortunate enough to know Karen, you had a kind, smart, funny, feisty, and caring friend who will be dearly missed. She put love out into the world and it will endure.

Services will be held in Buffalo this spring or summer. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Women’s Respite Program ( or a charity of your choice.

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