IN MEMORIAM, Karen Noble Hanson ‘06


Dr. Karen Noble Hanson, Doctor of Divinity Honoris Causa 2006, died peacefully on November 7, 2018 at the age of 75. Born in Rochester, NY, she was the daughter of the late Joseph L. and Kathryn C. Noble and wife of the late Rev. Dr. Thomas L Hanson, Jr. She is survived by her children, Tammy Tobin, Scott Tobin, Robert Tobin and Timothy Hanson along with their spouses and partners; 12 grandchildren; and siblings, Scott Noble and Penny Tobey. She was predeceased by her sister, Barbara Noble.

Karen loved the fine arts, higher education, civil rights and a caring government. She never backed away from a challenge. A graduate of Brighton High School and a member of its Hall of Fame, she completed her bachelor's degree, cum laude, from the University of Rochester in 1970 and received a Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Augustine's College in 1986. She also served on and chaired the Board of Trustees for the University of Rochester and for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

Karen's accomplishments made the world a better place. She began her professional career helping migrant farmworkers and the rural poor as Executive Director of Program Funding, Inc. (now PathStone Corporation) before accepting President Jimmy Carter's nomination to head Farmer's Home Administration for New York State, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She received the Special Service Award from the National Association of Farm Workers for her efforts. She then turned her attention to urban renovation in her hometown of Rochester, NY, serving as Vice President of Genesee Management, Inc. (a management holding company for Wilmorite, Inc.). Two of her proudest accomplishments were the development of Olde Rochesterville and helping to bring the Hyatt to downtown Rochester. She was awarded the Athena Award by the Rochester Chamber of Commerce. Karen spent the final years of her professional career as a Canon and the Chief Financial Officer for the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester.

Always up for a new challenge, Karen ran in two marathons with her husband, Tom, traveled extensively, and wrote a Jazz Mass that was performed at the Rochester International Jazz Festival.

A Memorial Service to celebrate Karen's life will be announced later this year. Donations in her memory may be sent to the Karen Noble Hanson Scholarship Fund at the Eastman School of Music, 26 Gibbs St., Rochester 14604.