Karen Mullings Stabeno M.A. ’72 was born May 9, 1945, the day after the Allies declared WWII victory in Europe. Her parents, Maurice and Katey Mullings, were both extraordinary people. Her sister, Peggy Mullings Ruff, was born five years later. Karen grew up in Garland, Texas, and graduated from Garland High School. She met her husband, Don, in study hall her junior year in high school. They were married on Aug. 6, 1965. Karen graduated with a degree in English from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1966 and completed her master’s at SCU in 1971. Karen and Don moved to San Jose in 1968, but returned to the Dallas area in 1971. She taught at Garland High School and Union School in San Jose, but later took a “20-year sabbatical” to raise her children. It was time well spent. In 1995 she reentered the workforce as a professor at DeVry in Irving, Texas. Karen loved her years as a teacher and was a wonderful model to her students at all levels she taught.
Karen gave birth to her first child, Amy Kathleen Stabeno Houghtaling, on Dec. 19, 1975. Her son, Andrew Lee Stabeno, was born on Jan. 16, 1980. She loved her children unconditionally with a joy and passion that never waned. Karen grew up in church her whole life, but truly came to know the Lord on a Sunday morning after hearing Angel Martinez, an evangelist, clearly share the story of the gospel at Orchard Hills Baptist Church in 1971. Karen and Don were active members of Forest Meadow Baptist Church and Scofield Memorial Church in Dallas. As they transitioned to living full time at their Lake House at Texoma, they became more and more active at Georgetown Baptist Church in Pottsboro.
Karen taught children’s church for her children at Forest Meadow Baptist Church and even volunteered at Georgetown Baptist Church the Tuesday of its Vacation Bible School, three weeks before she died. A true lover of the stories of God, she read missionary stories to her children growing up. Although this was probably not her intention, God used these stories to spark a passion in them for the gospel that has led both overseas to share His story. Being a Camp Fire girl as a child in a group led by her own mother, Karen also led Camp Fire groups for her daughter, Amy. She was a second mother to several of her children’s friends growing up, and loved them all well. Karen’s son, Andrew, was married to Carrie Conner on Dec. 18, 2004. They have five children: Nathaniel, Jacob, Abigail, Ezra, and Eden. Karen’s daughter Amy married Michael Houghtaling on Aug. 10, 2014. Karen passed away peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her family shortly after midnight on June 27. Blessed with good health her entire life, she was diagnosed with cancer on June 13 and Jesus took her home two weeks later. Her passing was virtually pain-free. She was sad to leave us all so soon but very excited about being present with the Lord. Karen is preceded in death by her parents and grandparents. She leaves behind her husband, Henry Don Stabeno; her daughter and son-in-law, Amy and Michael Houghtaling; her son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Carrie Stabeno; her five grandchildren: Nathaniel, Jacob, Abigail, Ezra, and Eden; her sister and brother-in-law, Mike and Peggy Ruff; her niece, Lacey Ruff Zuhoski; and a host of friends and family who will miss her greatly.