Our Rembrandt is Gone!
Karen Elizabeth Rohrer
On March 18, 1990, two nefarious thieves entered the Gardner Museum in Boston and stole 13 pieces of art—it took them just 81 minutes. One of the paintings taken was Rembrandt’s masterpiece called “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee”.
On Wednesday, August 2nd, at 12:05 AM, the Great Shepherd rescued one of his sheep, known in this world as Karen Elizabeth Rohrer, to be with Him forever. That is the day we lost someone way more priceless than all Rembrandt’s creations put together.
Karen grew up in Ridley Park with her parents and brother, Gary. She spent most of her adult years in Lancaster where she did what came naturally to her: she cared for people who needed some extra help getting by. That was more than a pastime or a job to Karen—it was her calling that she executed with the poise and grace of a master. She must have been born with an extra gene for Caring, Sharing, Listening, and just plain Loving because she was wonderful to be around.
The painting, “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” was done by Rembrandt in the early 1600s and is his only seascape. It portrays the story of the disciples in Mark chapter four where they are traversing the Sea of Galilee and a fierce storm threatens to capsize them. Jesus is asleep in the boat, the disciples are scared to death, and they can’t wait to wake him up to help. Ironically, there are 14 people in the boat since Rembrandt paints himself in the boat along with Jesus and the 12 disciples.
Karen met Keith van Brunt In 1975 through a mutual friend and hung out together that summer and then went their separate ways to college and careers. Karen and Keith were reunited in 2004 and soon committed to being with each other through any storm that would come along. Believe me, Karen knows just what it’s like to be tossed and turned by the storms of life; stuck in a boat with a bunch of frantic peers trying to make sense of all the chaos. She learned firsthand how fragile and fleeting life really is. She fought her battle with cancer for 13 years. Through many ups and downs of her sickness, she was never far from Jesus—He was always next to her in the boat, going through it all right by her side.
Through the years in Ridley Park, Karen could be seen walking around the lake. Counting the turtles on the dam. Walking and talking to everyone who passed by. Karen also loved Cape May and was able to spend many days in summer and winter walking the beach and Washington square, riding bikes and then the special dinner at Hemingway’s.
The thieves at the museum didn’t bother to take the painting down from the wall and pack it up carefully; they just cut it out from the frame, rolled it up, and took it away. In fact, the empty frame still remains on the museum wall without the canvas. Similarly, we feel that Karen was taken from us way too soon. We know her life was no empty frame. She was goodness and grace all rolled into one gentle package. She had so to offer all of those around her. She is survived by her soulmate, Keith, her brother and his family, and a whole army of close friends, co-workers, and family throughout the country.
To this day, that Rembrandt has never been found. But we know without the shadow of a doubt that Karen can easily be found in the arms of her Savior. She has indeed come through the final storm of her life and has finally reached the peaceful shore. We are aware that we may never see Karen again in this life. But we are convinced that we are all better for having her touch our lives. She was a pleasure to be around. When you talked to her, she had the uncanny knack to really focus on you and make a lasting connection. Those connections have become a part of us. And we will carry her in our hearts and mind all our days.
Funeral services for Karen will be held at:
Griffith Funeral Home
Saturday, August 19, 2023
Visitation: 10:00 a.m.
Service: 11:00 a.m.
Donations can be made in honor of Karen to:
Small Things Philly [Please write “In Honor of Karen Rohrer” with donation]