Karen Elaine Neureuter, 75, passed April 3, 2021.
The daughter of Ruth and Clarence Stroh, Karen was born January 2, 1945, in Lodi, California. She attended San Francisco State University, where she majored in psychology. In 1966, she married Jay McInnis; they had one daughter before parting ways in 1969.
After opening a plant and floral business in San Francisco, Karen met Jack Neureuter, a fellow divorcé with two children of his own. Jack became one of her best customers and, on November 15, 1980, the couple surprised a close group of friends at a dinner party with the announcement that the invitees were about to witness their wedding ceremony.
In 1982, Karen and Jack moved to Alexander Valley, where they bought an old farmhouse. They adopted two more children, and opened their home to three foster children, and later, an exchange student from France, with whom they formed a lifelong bond. Karen was an accomplished cook and embraced the farm-to-table movement early on, filling the house with delicious aromas and her table with warm, home-cooked meals. Her large and lively family, including the family dogs, remained her pride and joy.
Over the years, Karen jumped into the community with both feet, becoming a board member of the Alexander Valley Association. When she saw the need for a community newspaper, she took it upon herself to found, edit, and self-distribute the Alexander Valley Commons.
The home on Geysers Road became a beautiful gathering place for family and friends alike, hosting everything from a monthly bridge night by the pool; her children’s weddings in the verdant, flower-laden gardens; to an annual Christmas party that was the stuff of legend. When the children had all moved out, she started a business renting out the property for weddings – for above all, Karen loved her home and wanted nothing more than to share the joy it brought her.
Karen is deeply missed by her family and her many friends. She is survived by her husband Jack; children Hillary, Joffrey, Megan, Jeremy, and Alex; her brother Ron; and five grandchildren. A private family memorial is being planned. To honor Karen’s memory, donations in her name may be made to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.