Karen Lynn Foster

June 4, 1955 ~ March 10, 2022 (age 66)


Karen Lynn Foster, 66, of Decatur, GA, passed away peacefully on March 10, 2022, following an 18-month battle with an aggressive cancer.


Karen was born June 4, 1955, in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, to Carolyn and Robert Foster.  She was the oldest of their six children.  As the daughter of a career Navy Supply Corps Officer, Karen moved frequently throughout her childhood, living in Port Washington, NY: Honolulu, HI; Medway, Massachusetts; Athens, Georgia; Newport and Middletown, Rhode Island; and Springfield, Virginia, where she graduated from West Springfield High School.  She was a 1977 cum laude graduate of Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors in English.  She earned a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia, and did postgraduate work in English at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.


In 1982, Karen moved to the Atlanta area and began working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an Assistant Editor for Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).  During her 23-year career at CDC, she also served as Writer-Editor for the Center for Infectious Diseases (1986-1988); Managing Editor, MMWR, and Chief of the MMWR Branch, Epidemiology Program Office (1988-2000); and Technical Writer-Editor, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (2000-2005).  Since 2005, she has worked as a freelance writer/editor and editorial consultant in public health and epidemiology.  From 2009 to 2022, Karen worked as a contractor for CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, serving as a technical writer-editor and subject matter expert.


Karen’s true passion was raising, showing, and breeding English Springer Spaniels.  She was a charter member of the Chattahoochee English Springer Spaniel Club of Greater Atlanta.  She has been described as the backbone of the club with her strict ethics and familiarity with the American Kennel Club rules and regulations.  She loved the breed and was determined to protect it.  Karen was on the staff of Atlanta’s Dogwood Obedience Group (ADOG), organizing seminars and special events.  She was also an active member of English Springer Rescue America, and the English Springer Spaniel Field Trial Association (ESSFTA).  


Shortly before her passing, Karen finished writing her first novel, which we hope to have published in the near future.


Karen’s accomplishments, both professional and personal, are particularly remarkable given that she was born completely blind.  Multiple surgeries before she was two years old restored only three percent of her vision.  She never complained; she never sought special accommodations or pity.  Karen was fiercely independent despite not being able to drive.  She loved to travel to dog shows around the country.  Her many devoted friends were there for her to the end.  


Karen is survived by her mother, Carolyn Foster; her sisters, Lisa (Mike) Hodes, Nancy (Richard) Councill, Lori (Craig) Turley, and Beth (Bill) Carrick; her brother, David (Suzy) Foster; eleven nieces and nephews; and her beloved English Springer Spaniels, Brinkley and London.  She was preceded in death by her father and her niece, Jenny Hodes.


A celebration of Karen’s life will be held on Saturday, May 7, 2022. Details to be announced at a later date. She will be laid to rest privately at The Honey Creek Woodlands, in Conyers, Georgia.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Karen to:


Hollins University (designated for the Creative Writing Graduate Program)

External Relations Office

P.O. Box 9629

7916 Williamson Rd.

Roanoke, VA  24020-1629

(800) 846-5371



English Springer Rescue America, Inc.

1025 Rose Creek Drive, Suite 620-305
Woodstock, GA 30189


Chattahoochee English Springer Spaniel Club of Greater Atlanta (CESSCGA)

PayPal address:

By mail – send check (payable to CESSCGA) to:

Zippy Cooper

199 Appalachee Church Rd.

Auburn, GA  30011


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Karen Lynn Foster, please visit our floral store.


Private Services

Honey Creek Woodlands

Conyers, Georgia

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