Nancy Karper, artist, 84, of Sarona died peacefully in her sleep on Monday, November 4, 2019 at her home on Long Lake. She was born on July 11, 1935 in Blue Island, IL to Francis and Vera Hartney.
In 1961 she married Robert Karper and lived for 25 years in Palos Heights, a suburb of Chicago, where she began her career as an oil painter.
Nancy studied painting under John Stribney of Palos Park, and after ten years struck out independently, taking out a mortgage, building a studio on the end of her house and taught painting on weeknights to dozens of other Midwestern artists. She enjoyed nurturing other people’s talent and continued making work for galleries well into her later years.
In 1999, she retired alone to her parents’ house on Long Lake, Washburn Co where at a painting demonstration she met Wisconsin watercolorist Lyle Lamphear. They fell in love, married and had 12 wonderful years together - creating another studio on the house here, traveling the country visiting friends and relatives, and showcasing their respective talents at area art fairs and galleries until he passed away in 2015.
In the weeks of her final illness she was heard many times stating, “I’ve had a wonderful life,” and it was true. Nancy was declared the nation’s best unrepresented artist by Southwest Art magazine, had a variety of work experiences including legal secretary and live-in rectory cook for five priests, wrote poetry, had perfect pitch, loved art, books, music, laughing, swearing and talking with friends until late in the night. She is survived by her three children, Bobby, Jenny and Chris; grandchildren, Safije and Sara and from Robert Karper’s family son, Marty; and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren. She was preceded by husband, Lyle; brothers, Frank and Larry; and Robert Karper’s daughter, Margie.
Celebration of life will be held on Friday, November 22, 2019, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. at Appleyard’s Home for Funerals, 19 W. Messenger St. Rice Lake, WI.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Hunt Hill Audobon Sanctuary or the Birchwood Fire & EMS Service.