Karen Raye Schwartz - Miss Kansas 1963
Karen Raye Schwartz Angle was Miss Kansas 1963 at the age of 19. She won Most Talented Classical or Semi-classical Singer during her time of competition. Karen was invited back to the Miss America Pageant as an entertainer the following year. It was all great fun and she got to know Bert Parks! She made many appearances as Miss Kansas and she sang at nearly every one of them.
Karen started her college career at Friends University in Wichita, but transferred to the University of Kansas in Lawrence during her Miss Kansas year. That made for a much longer drive home. She was in the School of Social Work until 1965, when she took off two years to serve in the Peace Corps. She married Rodney Angle of Medicine Lodge in 1965. They spent the summer of 1965 getting ready to go to Panama with the Peace Corps. They left for Panama in November and stayed there for two years on the island of Bastimentos. When they returned home in the Fall of 1967, they both returned to KU, where Rod completed his Ph.D and Karen completed her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. In 1970, Karen gave birth to a son, Roderick, and in 1973 she had their daughter, Stephanie. Soon after Stepanie’s birth, the family moved to Minneapolis, where they stayed for two years.
After that, they moved to New Jersey, where Karen raised their family and Rod worked for 30 years. Karen was back to singing and she learned to drive a school bus, which she did for 17 years. During that time, Karen was studying voice in New York City and she did some singing there and in New Jersey and North Carolina. During the 1990s Karen’s health started bothering her. In the beginning of the 2000s Karen had to have a brain surgery. During the operation she suffered a stroke. The stroke and the operation severely affected her singing. The operation involved removing a section of her skull and cut into the muscles surrounding it. This had significant impact on her voice. She hasn’t sung since that time except in her church choir. She is now thinking of quitting that. So much for the singing. They moved to the Baltimore area just after their first grandchild was born, just about 10 years ago. They decided that they wanted to be involved grandparents, and that they are. They are Nana and Poppop.
They now have four beautiful grandchildren, a boy and three girls. Karen sits with the grandson, Austin and his sister, Olivia in the afternoons after school 4 days a week. The other two girls live up in New York City with their parents. They will be going up there to sit with them, while their parents go on a little vacation. They’re getting ready for their annual grandparents week. This is an annual event, with three of the grandkids until the fourth is old enough to be away from her mom and dad in New York.
Rod is still working and says he’s going to work until he’s 80. Karen and Rod are very happy and will celebrate 51 years of marriage on June 13th. Looking forward to many more years of being grandparents.