Karen Close (b 1948), born in Highland Park, Michigan, is the daughter of George and Virginia Westerman. She received her elementary and high school education at Highland Park, and then attended Harding University (Arkansas) for two years. In 1983, she received her Associate of Arts degree at Western Christian College. Karen married John S. Close on January 17, 1969. She has three children, Allen (1962 a stepson), Kristi (1974), and John (1976).
Her early work experience was as secretary for an automotive company (six months) and as secretary to the president of the Firm Foundation while she lived with her husband in Austin, Texas. After Jack and Karen, and son Allen, moved to Western Christian College, she assisted her husband when he was dormitory director of Hanes Hall (1974-76). In 1976, she became dean of College Hall. Karen held that position until 1989, and the college moved to Dauphin.
As a dormitory director, she urged that the life skills program be given a definite time on the college timetable. As a result of her urging, one hour on Wednesday afternoon and another half hour each Sunday night were set aside for this purpose. In addition, Karen values her development of the "cope group". There she worked with the children of alcoholics, drug addicts, divorced parents, and with abused children. At first, there were only girls in the group but later boys, at their request, were allowed to join. Karen is happy to have had a "small part" in helping teenage girls mature into woman hood.
The 1986 college yearbook was dedicated to Karen Close. The final words of the dedication read as follows: "This yearbook is dedicated to Mrs. Close in appreciation for all the hard work she has done both in the dormitory and for W.C.C. As well as being a terrific dorm mother, she is a dedicated wife and mother. You are very special to the girls, Mrs. Close, and your service to them will not be forgotten. May the Lord continue to bless you as you have blessed others!!!"