In Memory of





Obituary for Karen Mary Gray (Ridcetts)

Karen Mary Gray, 81, died from cancer on Jan. 1, 2023, under hospice care at Doey's House in Hagerstown, MD.

Karen was born on August 13, 1941, in Big Valley, Alberta, Canada. She was raised in Spokane, Washington State, and received her B.A. from Whitworth University there in 1966.

She completed a three-year postgraduate at the Harvard Divinity School in 1969 and in 1975 earned a doctorate degree in the philosophy of religion from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

She lived in Washington, D.C. for 30 years, where for six years she worked as assistant for managers at the National Symphony Orchestra and for 20 years for the Smithsonian Institution’s Associates Program, developing educational tours in the mid-Atlantic region on subjects ranging from art to zoology.

Her relationship with the C&O Canal began in 1977, when she began to hike on the towpath and study the canal’s history and engineering. On retiring in 2001 she moved to Hagerstown, and starting in 2005 volunteered for the C&O Canal National Historical Park’s headquarters library and served as a Volunteer Master Ranger at canal events. She also lectured and guided tours on the canal for organizations such as Road Scholars.

Karen’s other major retirement activity was teaching PowerPoint-illustrated, non-credit, lifelong-learning classes for Hagerstown and Frederick community colleges. Her history, literature, and philosophy classes reflected her own continuing intensive study in these areas.

Her body will be cremated and her ashes will be divided between her loving family in Spokane and friends nearby who will arrange a memorial scattering.

Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Washington County, 1710 Underpass Way, Suite 300, Hagerstown MD 21740.