Karen Marjorie Pollpeter Brzostoski, 42, passed from this life on Saturday, November 26, 2011 at McDowell Hospital in Marion, North Carolina, less than eight months after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Karen was born the fourth daughter of Elmer and Annette (Stenger) Pollpeter on March 22, 1969, in Burlington, Iowa. She attended the Burlington Area Catholic schools and graduated from Notre Dame High School in 1987.
She studied art at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and also spent nine months in Florence, Italy, studying painting before graduating in 1991 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Karen moved to New York City and eventually was able to make her living through her paintings, selling them on the streets of Manhattan. That’s how she met her husband, Matthew Brzostoski, also an artist and painter. They moved to Long Branch, New Jersey, in 2000 and were married on August 29th of that year. They have two beautiful daughters, Rebecca and Gabriella, and they traveled, often as a family, all over the United States selling their paintings at art fairs. In 2005, they made their home in Marion, North Carolina.
Karen home-schooled Rebecca and Gabriella, and she was a member of the homeschooling co-ops in Asheville and Fairview. She was an amazing mother, and her spirit will live on in her daughters. Karen will be remembered by all who met her as a generous, talented, compassionate, and energetic woman. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
She is survived and lovingly remembered by her husband, Matthew Brzostoski; her two wonderful daughters, Rebecca Joy and Gabriella Rose; her parents, Elmer and Annette Pollpeter of Burlington, IA; her four sisters: Cindy (Randy) Gunter of New Glarus, WI, Joan (Tony) Stewart of Naples, FL, Rosalie (Steve) Pappas of Greenwood, IN, Greta (Tony) Mansour of Brooklyn, NY; her brother Nathan (Darja) Pollpeter of London, UK; several nieces and nephews, and one great-nephew.
A memorial service will be held in Burlington next summer. The family has respectfully requested that any contributions be made to the Karen Pollpeter Brzostoski Memorium account, arranged for her young daughters. Cards may be sent to the family at 163 Viewpoint Drive, Marion, NC 28752.