Ellen LaVern Karns was born in Loveland, Colorado, to Charles F. and Esther (Gano) Karns on August 9, 1926.
She moved with her family to Boise, Idaho, in 1930 where she grew up, was baptized into Christ and was a member of the 18th and Eastman Church of Christ. Early on she began studying the piano; music was to become a central part of her life.
LaVern graduated from Boise High School in 1944, then graduated in 1948 from The Cincinnati Bible Seminary, Cincinnati, Ohio, with the bachelor of sacred literature degree. She next served in evangelistic meetings as song leader, soloist, pianist, and chalk artist, a talent she developed during her college years, and studied further at the Manhattan School of Music and Boise State University.
In 1954, LaVern joined the faculty of Kentucky Christian College (now Kentucky Christian University) in Grayson where she served for 35 years as professor of music. Besides directing the college choir, teaching piano and the various music courses, she mentored hundreds of young Christians. Some of these gave her the affectionate nick-name of “Kicksie” for her habit of giving an exuberant little kick when her students perfectly performed a song. In addition to teaching, LaVern composed over 90 songs and choruses for children, and served area churches as music and choir director.
LaVern retired to Richmond, Kentucky, but continued to serve the music needs of several churches, taught women’s Bible school classes, and supported Christian missionaries. She always put others first.
LaVern passed from this life June 3, 2013, and is survived by two brothers, Franklin (Arlene), of Pensacola, Florida, and Robert (Fanchon), of Peoria, Arizona, seven nephews and nieces and their children and grandchildren. All will miss her dearly.
From an early age, LaVern dedicated herself to God’s service, working tirelessly to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Her passion for God’s Word, life example and loving influence continue to ripple out in the lives of her friends, former students and family.
Visitation 10-12 a.m. Tuesday, June 11, at Oldham, Roberts and Powell Funeral Home in Richmond. Graveside service 12:30 p.m. at Richmond Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations suggested to Westside Christian Church, Richmond.