Karen Wittmer Jekel passed away peacefully in her home in Cornville, AZ on December 2, 2017, after a brief, but valiant fight against bile duct cancer. Karen was born February 7, 1952, in Detroit, Michigan to Everett “Lee” Wittmer and Mary Louise Wittmer. She is survived by her husband Lou Jekel, her mother Mary Wittmer, brothers Mark and Marty Wittmer and sister Margo Kost and their spouses as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Karen was nationally known for her pioneering leadership in the newspaper industry. Many in the industry recognized her for her strong, insightful, and dedicated advocacy to the publishing business. She also received numerous awards throughout her career. She began her career as a retail advertising sales representative at the Detroit Free Press and rapidly rose to Retail Advertising Manager. She went on to be publisher of the Orange Coast Daily Pilot, Costa Mesa, CA; the Salinas Californian, Salinas, CA (Gannett); The Courier News, Bridgewater, NJ (Gannett); the Steubenville, OH/Weirton, WVA Strategic Marketing Group (Thompson Newspapers); East Valley Tribune, Mesa/Scottsdale, AZ (Thompson Newspapers and later Freedom Communications). Karen received her B.A. Journalism from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.
Her civic affiliations included East Valley Partnership Board of Directors (past Chair); Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors (past chair); Scottsdale Cultural Council Board of Directors; Walter Cronkite Telecommunications & Journalism/ASU- Trustee; Arizona Town Hall Board of Directors; Greater Phoenix Leadership Board of Directors; ASU Research Park Board of Trustees. Since early 2001 Karen and Lou split their time and residency between Scottsdale, Cornville, AZ and Alexandria Bay, NY. Services will be private. Should any wish to donate to a charity they may to: Northern Arizona Hospice, 203 S. Candy Lane, Suite 10A, Cottonwood,AZ 86326
An online obituary is available at www.westcottfuneralhome.com.
Information provided by survivors.