Karen grew up in Detroit, Michigan. She dropped out of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas to marry Jack Close, who was a Doctoral student at the University of Texas, a Canadian, and widower with a son, Allen. Jack and Karen moved to South Carolina after serving in ministry for over 30 years with Western Christian high school and college in Canada. While in Canada she was heavily involved in church and community volunteer activities.
Karen is passionate about the church and helping to make it a safe place for people to receive help and spiritual guidance. In addition to her role at CIU, she serves as a counselor, with an emphasis in family systems, at the Lexington Church of Christ where she also teaches ladies Bible classes and marriage and family classes. She says that her most meaningful accomplishment is her long marriage to the love of her life, her three married children and eight grandchildren.
2004-2007 Adjunct Professor , Western Christian College, Canada; 2007 - present, Board of Directors, Western Christian College, Canada; 2004-present, Counselor, Lexington Church of Christ.