Karen Rusher (née Hawes), 66, of Toms River, NJ, passed away Sunday, January 17, 2021 at home, surrounded by her loved ones. She was born in Pittsburgh, PA on October 2, 1954 and lived in West Alexander, PA and Walton, NY before moving to Toms River in 1987. In high school, she was active in the drama club and chorus, and enjoyed playing and teaching piano as an adult. Karen received her Bachelor’s Degree from Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA in 1976 and was a special education teacher for the Stafford Township School District in Manahawkin, NJ for over 20 years. A truly selfless soul, she was only concerned with other people’s happiness. Her guiding, nurturing and delightful personality was enjoyed by those around her. A beloved mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, her memory will be cherished in the hearts of her loved ones. She was predeceased by her father, the Rev. John B. Hawes Jr., in 2012 and her husband of 44 years, John J. Rusher III, “Jack,” on December 12, 2020. She is survived by her mother Eleanor Hawes, two brothers Jim Hawes and John W. Hawes, two sisters Linda Patterson and Nancy McCollough, four children John Rusher IV, Phil Rusher, Christine Sullivan and Kevin Rusher, and four grandchildren Stanley, Dylan, Agatha and Amelia. A memorial gathering for Karen and Jack Rusher will be offered Saturday, January 23, 2021 from 3:00pm – 6:00pm at the Timothy E. Ryan Home for Funerals, 995 Fischer Blvd., Toms River. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.ryanfuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, donations in Karen’s name can be made to The National Pancreas Foundation, https://pancreasfoundation.org/take-action-2/donate-to-npf/, 3 Bethesda Metro Center, Suite 700, Bethesda, MD 20814. 301-961-1508.
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