Karen Lea Finkbiner

Karen Finkbiner passed away Sunday, January 10, 2021, at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

She was born May 28, 1968, in Springfield, Missouri, the daughter of James and Jean Mitchell. Karen was a graduate of Glendale High School in 1986 and earned her Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Kansas in 1992. She later completed a pharmacy practice residency and a specialized residency in oncology pharmacy practice at the University of Cincinnati in 1993 and 1994 respectively.

As an oncology pharmacist, Karen worked at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida and at Via Christi in Wichita before beginning her long tenure at Lawrence Memorial Hospital which lasted from 2001 to 2020. She was the oncology pharmacy manager at Lawrence Memorial Hospital when she fell ill.

Karen was extremely dedicated to her job and the care of her patients. Outside of work, she was an avid reader, animal lover, and amateur beekeeper. She enjoyed watching sitcoms and dramas, eating good food, and spending time with her family.

Karen married Eric Finkbiner on July 28, 1990.

She is survived by her husband; her two sons, Ian and Spencer; her father; her sister Suzanne Broddle and her husband Alan; and two nephews, Ryan and Samuel.

A service may be held at a later date.

The family suggests memorials to the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Oncology Center and the Lawrence Humane Society, sent in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, P.O. Box 1260, Lawrence, KS 66044.

Condolences may be sent at www.rumsey-yost.com

Below is a Eulogy written by Dr. Matthew Stein, one of Karen’s longtime coworkers and friends:

Karen Finkbiner very simply was an exceptional human being. For those of us who had the privilege to spend precious time with her she was someone who demonstrated all the virtues that we wished to possess and demonstrate in our lives. Beloved friend, extraordinary professional, incredible caregiver, and loving and devoted wife and Mother, Karen will be missed by all of us whose lives she affected and by many who do not know just how instrumental she was in making their lives longer and better.

For those of us who were her colleagues that privilege was working with Karen on a daily basis for nearly 20 years taking care of the patients of the LMH Oncology Center where she daily had a major impact on the lives of those who were undergoing treatment and upon those of us who administered those treatments. Karen in her quiet and competent manner enhanced and protected all of the lives of those receiving and giving complex treatments at our Center. Though at times behind the scenes, there was no detail too trivial and no safety measure too small that did not draw her fervent and complete attention. Without hesitation or discernible doubt Karen had a

major impact on the multiple success stories that have been given to her patients. As a complete professional she will always have our highest admiration, respect, and honor. As a friend and colleague, she will always have our highest affection, thanks, and remembrance for what she helped create and sustain.

As wife and Mother she leaves behind Eric and her two sons, Ian and Spencer. We pray that her family will always be blessed with her love and affection along with the memories of her strength, determination, and positive effect on the lives of all of us.

Messages & Condolences

From ROBERT TREPINSKI...

Eric, Ian and Spencer – Your wife and mother was the critical connection of care giving from the physicians to the nurses and to the patients. Karen helped design the necessary space in the Oncology Center for her work and was always a guiding light for the people around her. A pro’s pro and an amazing person! Shocked by your loss, the world’s loss – she left a beautiful legacy. Be at peace with all her wonderful memories.

From Dr. Kyle LaRosh...

Eric, I am greatly saddened to learn of Karen’s death. You, Karen, and your sons ranked high among my favorite clients all the years I helped care for your family pets. May the Lord comfort you!

From Joleen and Bob Bechtel...

I got to know Karen in my role as an RN-IVTherapist, based in the pharmacy department at LMH Health. She was a cheerful, loving person who cared so much for others and dedicated her life to helping those whose lives were touched by cancer. My husband, Bob, a volunteer in the Oncology Clinic, got to know Spencer when
he volunteered during the summer when he was home from university for the summer. He also knew and cared so much about Karen and her commitment to those in her care.
Our deepest sympathy goes out to Eric, Ian and Spencer during this time of great sadness.

From Gene Meyer...

In this time of great loss in our world the loss has hit home sadly with Karen’s passing. Many of us were honored to work with Karen at LMH. As others have said, the many contributions Karen made to the Oncology program helped make the program outstanding and one that we are so proud of. But beyond that my remembrance of Karen was her energy and smile. Given the very challenging circumstances she worked around she was always positive and the ultimate professional. My thoughts go out to Karen’s family during this very sad time. Karen you will be missed by all.

From Diane Chrislip...

Karen was the best! When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, she patiently explained the drugs we’d be using, and occasionally would say, “I’m sorry” when she would reveal the side-effects of a particular drug. But she was also a lot of fun, and we always laughed together about something. That laughter was something I needed about as much as the drugs during that period. I’m so sorry she had to leave so soon. Deep condolences to her family and to all her loved her.

From Dave Henry...

Karen was an excellent teacher and preceptor in addition to being an excellent Oncology pharmacist. I am proud of the work she did as an Oncology pharmacist and as a teacher-preceptor for the School of Pharmacy and LMH. Thank you, Karen!

From Tanya Spacek...

Talk about leaving the world a better place than you found it – you touched so many lives and made them better, and you were so humble about it all. You couldn’t possibly know the extent of the impact you had on me and so many others. I’m so mad you didn’t get more time here. My heart goes out to everyone else who was blessed and lucky to share their time on earth with you.

From Scott Black...

Eric and the boys -My deepest sympathies are with you at this difficult time.

From Ginny Melton...

Karen and I went to high school together in Springfield, MO. I did not get to know her though until we roomed together in Ellsworth our freshman year at KU. It was during that year that she met a terrific guy named Eric Finkbiner. My husband David and I had a lot of fun double dating with Karen and Eric. We will miss her forever.

From Janice Stumpff...

Eric, Ian and Spencer, I am so deeply sorry for your loss. Karen was a wonderful friend and coworker. I will always remember our discussions about novels we were reading and our weekly review of the latest Downton Abbey episodes. She was a blessing to so many. My prayers and thoughts are with you.

From Joan Toot...

It was an honor to know Karen in a professional role and a friend. A brilliant and caring person.

From Alneata Barrett...

Eric, Ian and Spencer, my heart is breaking as I heard the news of Karen’s passing. She was such an incredible woman who absolutely loved her sons. Family meant so much to her, every conversation I had with her, her face would light up as soon as we started taking about updates on her boys! We’d take trips down ‘memory lane’ about Ian and Spencer.
I was so blessed to have the opportunity to have known Karen. I met Karen through her two beautiful sons Ian & Spencer when I was their Early Ed teacher
Spencer became fast friends with our Middle child and they shared many fun times together growing up. I can still picture the boys as little guys coming into my classroom and giving the BEST hugs. Ian & Spencer you were blessed with a mom who touched so many lives and everyone just loved her.
She was super proud of you two.
Praying that God gives your family the strength to get through this difficult time.
I love you guys
Miss Needy

From Orgene DesCoteaux...

Holding you close in my thoughts and hoping you are doing OK.

From Kennedy Morey...

Eric, Spencer, and Ian,
I am so sorry to hear about the passing of Karen! She was an amazing person and will be missed by many! Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time💜

From Doris Bell...

Did not know Karen personal, Priscilla spoke so highly of her, they both have son of the same age, they would often share their growing joy and pain ,she will be truly miss, praying that you and the boys will find comfort and much love in each other in this most trying time, memories will be so precious, cherish each one of them..

From Mary Bost...

My deepest sympathy to Karen’s family. She was a special and amazing person and will be missed greatly. Sending prayers during this difficult time.

From Priscilla Johnson...

Karen was so dedicated to always looking at the betterment of patient care in the oncology department. I had the honor of working with her for many years. I loved to hear her excitement when she spoke about achievements of Spencer or Ian “Proud mama moments”. I was also amazed at what new adventures she was diving into beekeeping, and chickens. I will truly miss her. 💔

From The Walter family...

Our deepest condolences for your loss. Your family is in our thoughts.

From Ronald L. Stephens, MD, MA (Wales)...

Karen was the glue that assured safe treatment of cancer patients. She did this with an outstanding degree of intellect, and a personal social skill set second to none. She also demonstrated a high degree of tolerance for those of us challenged by the electronic medical record. She will be missed both for her expertise and her helpful and friendly disposition, something she demonstrated even under the daily stress of getting it right.

From Bobbi McClellan...

We are so sorry to hearing of Karen’s passing. Karen was such a kind, gentle person. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Eric, Ian and Spencer and your families. God bless you,

From Paula Winkler...

Thoughts and prayers for you and your family!

From Sarah Kiarie...

Eric, Ian and Spencer, I am so sorry for your loss. Karen was a light in so many lives. She was so caring and genuinely kind. Sam and I always looked forward to coming to see you all each month. You are like family to us and you are all in our prayers.

From Shae Stuart...

Sending prayers to the family . May God bless you guys in this time of bereavement ♥️♥️

From Ann Kliem...

Karen was a blessing in my life. I met her when I was having chemo 10 years ago. She always had a smile and an encouraging word.

From Alan and Debra Staatz...

Eric, Ian, and Spencer,
We are so deeply sorry for the loss of your wife and mother. Karen was a truly kind and caring person, and she will be greatly missed in this world. Our prayers will be with you as you go through this difficult time.

From Bill Fox...

So sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.

From Holly Turner...

Eric,Ian and Spencer. So very sorry to hear about Karen’s passing. I have so many wonderful memories of her. I remember the first day we met when she enrolled Ian and Spencer in the ECE program. From that day forward she would always light up my day with a smile and positive comment. Fast forward to a few years after that I had a dear friend tell me that she couldn’t have made it through cancer without Karen’s advice. You will be so missed.

From Jane Pruemer, PharmD...

My deepest sympathy to Eric, Ian, and Spencer. Karen was a very special resident that I had the privilege to help train. Her smile was infectious, and I can still hear her light laughter. She had the biggest heart and always sought the best for everyone. What a truly generous spirit! I will miss her! We had many great times in Cincinnati, and at HOPA meetings. I’ll never forget my visit with Karen, Eric, and Ian as a baby, in Florida.

From Gloria Riley ( Spencer’s Preschool Teacher)...

Eric, Ian and Spencer, my heart is breaking over the shock of Karen passing away. She was an amazing woman and I loved her so much! When my dad was being treated for cancer, it was Karen who would come up and visit with us and make sure that everything was running smoothly with my dads medication. Thank you for that Karen! May you now rest in Gods loving arms! Praying that God gives your family the strength to get through this difficult time. Love you Karen!

From Jan Morey...

Eric, Ian and Spencer I am so very sorry. My heart is breaking. Karen will always hold a special place in my heart. I will truly miss our conversations in the halls at LMH catching up on family and friends. My prayers to all of you. May the angels hold her in heaven until we meet again.

From Cindy Whalen...

My heart is breaking to hear of Karen’s passing. A dear friend and colleague whom I respect for her compassion, intelligence and bravery. My rock during our 2 years together at University of Cincinnati in pharmacy residency. “Pookie” you are loved and will be missed. Much love to Eric and the family. “Spot”

From The Lingo Family...

Our hearts are sadden to hear about Karen’s passing. She was a sweet kind lady. Keeping your family is thoughts.

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