Friends remember Faber as compassionate, kind woman |

Friends remember Faber as compassionate, kind woman

SUMMIT COVE – Overnight temperatures fell to minus 2 degrees, too cold for Karen Faber to survive. She likely froze to death in the driveway of her Swan Meadow Village trailer, where, officials say, she fell after getting out of her car early Friday morning. A neighbor found her about 7 a.m., and by then, officials believe, she had been lying in the driveway, on her side with her knees drawn up to her chest, for hours.

“She had her hands under her head just like a pillow, like she was taking a nap,” said Summit County Sheriff Joe Morales.

Faber, 52, was pronounced dead at Summit Medical Center. Her blood alcohol level was about twice the legal limit for driving, according to Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson.

“You could tell she stumbled and tripped. She had a scrape on her knee,” Richardson said. “She was hypothermic. She had the classic cherry-red blood you get with hypothermia.”

Her friends say Faber’s lonely death had little to do with the woman they saw most of her life. She was, they say, a vivacious, warm and kind person who, at the time of her death, was working through a rough stretch of her life.

Faber had lost custody of her daughter, 10-year-old Kelly, her friends say, and was planning to hire a lawyer to help her regain some of those rights. She had planned to meet with that attorney Friday.

“Emotionally, that was all hard on her,” said Paula Clark, who had known Faber as a friend and employee since 1982. “She had been very despondent and emotional about that.”

Faber worked for Clark, who co-owns Solar One Builders and Corinthian Realty. She worked there on and off for the better part of two decades, first answering phones and later selling real estate.

Faber moved to Summit County from Indiana in the mid-70s, friends say. When Clark met Faber, she was a ski racer, thin and blonde, “the sweetest person I’ve ever met,” Clark said. “She was just so compassionate and sympathetic.”

Even when customers became angry, Clark said, “she never raised her voice. I just can’t say enough about her.”

Good Times Video owner Joe Kellie, who dated Faber for seven years, was a stunt skier in the late ’70s when he met Faber at Copper Mountain.

“She was very good-looking, a classy young lady,” he said. “The time we were together was very pleasant. But I was traveling too much, and one day, she kicked me out.”

Local electrician Bill Atkinson met Faber about 10 years ago. He said that, lately, he was trying to provide emotional support for her as she worked through the issues surrounding her daughter.

“She was just a real sweetheart of a gal,” he said. “Hard-working, honest. She was just having a tough time with her divorce.

“It’s a darn shame to have lost her.”

Clark won’t forget Faber. Nor does she want others to forget her, either. Faber recorded the message on Clark’s business answering machine.

“I’m not going to erase it,” she said. “Friends are calling in to hear Karen’s voice, and I’m just going to leave it.”

A local memorial service has not yet been arranged, but Clark expects Faber’s family will do so. Details about that service will be published as they become available.

Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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