Karen Lee Greenstein passed away March 27, 2014, when her vehicle was struck by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 5. Karen had a profound impact on her community throughout her life. Karen had a true appreciation for life and an absolute love for her family. As an emergency dispatcher, her confident and steady voice, and ability to remain cool under pressure carried countless citizens and first responders through stressful situations. As a volunteer with Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS), she touched the lives of four-legged friends as well.
Karen Lee Robinson was born on May 11, 1955, in Covina, Calif., to Frank and Gloria Robinson. She grew up in West Covina, Calif., with her sister Linda. Growing up in Southern California, Karen developed a lifelong love of the beach and the ocean. After attending Mt. San Antonio College, Karen began a successful career in the securities industry in Los Angeles and San Francisco, eventually becoming an over the counter stock trader at Lehman Brothers and Sutro and Co.
In 1985, Karen married Bill Greenstein in Hawaii. In 1987, the couple moved to Ashland, Ore., where Karen began a new career as an emergency dispatcher with the City of Ashland. Karen worked for the dispatch center in Ashland until it merged with Rogue Valley Consolidated Communications in Medford, and later with Emergency Communications of Southern Oregon (ECSO).
In 1990, Bill and Karen enthusiastically celebrated the birth of their daughter, Amanda. Karen's passion for the ocean carried over to Amanda, who after earning a degree in Marine Sciences at the University of San Diego has begun a career as a certified scuba instructor in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
At work, Karen was a respected member of the Emergency Services community. She received ECSO's "Dispatcher of the Year" award in 2011, and was nominated for the APCO "International Public Safety Communications Telecommunicator of the Year" award in 2012. Karen is remembered by her co-workers as always positive, always smiling. She had an unforgettable laugh and a witty sense of humor. Her voice was confident on the radio to the user agencies she served, and compassionate on the phone with the public she was devoted to helping. Karen truly cared for the agencies she dispatched for, and the coworkers she spent 10 to 12 hours a day with in the dispatch center.
Karen was a familiar fixture in Ashland, volunteering for Friends of the Animal Shelter (FOTAS) and the Ashland Independent Film Festival. She could be seen daily walking her beloved rescue dogs, Murphy and Billie Jo, along the streets and trails of Ashland. She was an avid reader, posting often to book review websites, and was a dedicated fitness buff.
Karen was greatly loved by her community, co-workers, friends and family. She leaves behind husband, Bill; daughter, Amanda; and sister, Linda Robinson.
A celebration of life will be held for Karen on Saturday, April 5th at 11:00 a.m., at Ashland High School. Friends, family and Emergency Service workers from all agencies are invited to attend. Uniformed personnel are encouraged to wear Class A uniforms.