Virginia Karl

Obituary of Virginia Karl

Virginia (Vinny) Karl, 83, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019. She was born in Mineola, Long Island, to Helen (M. Clinton) and Gerald F. Sweeney on March 12, 1936. She spent much of her early childhood in Yonkers, and then moved to Poughkeepsie where she attended Arlington High School and met the love of her life, Kevan P. Karl, at age 13. A gifted singer, at 18, Virginia won a scholarship for voice to the Julliard School of Music. She attended Julliard until marrying Kevan on March 24, 1957. Virginia continued her academic studies at Bard College as one of the first students in its University Without Walls (UWW) program, earning her bachelor's degree in English and music in 1973. She completed her master's in English literature at SUNY New Paltz in 1985 and taught English at Pine Plains and Dover high schools and as an adjunct professor at Duchess Community College and SUNY New Paltz. She wrote for the Rhinebeck Gazette (1983-1985) and remained active in the community on local issues, including the removal of PCBs from the Hudson River and improving services for migrant worker's children. She fought for causes that mattered to her and was especially passionate about gun control. Her love of music and singing brought her joy throughout her life, serving as choir director for the church on the U.S. Army base in Bad Kissingen, Germany and the Good Shepard Church (Rhinebeck). She was a member of the Rhinebeck Choral Club, performed in plays, sang in church choirs and weddings and led the family in song countless times around the piano, during long car rides and Broadway songs while washing dishes. An accomplished writer, she published her own memoir, The Bijou Dream Theatre, in 2013. She is survived by her beloved husband of 62 years, Kevan, daughters Theresa Karl and Kathleen Karl Siebold, sons-in-law David Flemming and Daniel Siebold, and grandchildren Madeleine and Joanna Shaw. She is also survived by extended family: brother and sister-in-law Paul and Barbara Karl, four nieces and nephews and three grand nephews, including Katherine Quattrochi and grandnephew Stefano Quattrochi. She is predeceased by her parents, elder sister Louise Sweeney Cornell and twin sister Jacqueline Smith. Virginia was cherished by her family and friends for her empathy and compassion, but most of all for her kind spirit, love of nature and ability to teach tolerance, acceptance and love for all humanity. The family is deeply grateful for the services of Hudson Valley Hospice and for her compassionate caretakers, Dana Grovesenor, Tashena Jones, Kim Rogers, Kristen Griffin and Terri Pardy. Calling hours will be held Friday, Sept. 6, from 4-7 p.m. at Burnett & White Funeral Home, 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook. A memorial service will take place Saturday, Sept. 7, 11 a.m. at the Reformed Church of Rhinebeck, 6368 Mill St., Rhinebeck, where a reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hudson Valley Hospice at Arrangements are under the direction of Burnett & White Funeral Homes 7461 S. Broadway, Red Hook, NY. For directions, or to sign the online guest book, please visit
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Visitation at Funeral Home

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Friday, September 6, 2019
Burnett & White Funeral Homes
7461 S. Broadway
Red Hook, New York, United States

Funeral Service

11:00 am
Saturday, September 7, 2019
The Reformed Church of Rhinebeck
6368 Mill St
Rhinebeck, New York, United States

Final Resting Place

Wurtemburg Cemetery
371 Wurtemburg Road
Rhinebeck, New York, United States
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