Olinger Funeral, Cremation & Cemetery - Chapel Hill

6601 South Colorado Blvd, Centennial, CO


Karen Jolene Kalbach

March 27, 1967June 17, 2020

Karen Jolene Kalbach Passed away on June 17, 2020, surrounded by those who loved her after a brief, but fearless battle with cancer.

Karen lived her life fiercely and passionately, and also with compassion and generosity. She devoted herself to helping others, guiding them to live a life of wellness. She was an avid marathoner and trail runner admired by her companions and described as a beast on the road or trail. Karen’s great love was her rescue bulldogs who were her constant companion over the years. Their funny faces always made her laugh.

Karen was born in Scott City, Kansas on March 27, 1967 to Wilda and Arthur Kalbach. A passion for health and fitness began early when she began competing in fun runs and 5Ks in her youth. She realized how much she enjoyed exercising and it became an important part of her life. She competed in 14 marathons and numerous other races including a half marathon this past February. She ran the Boston Marathon three times. The most recent Boston Marathon was 2019 and she qualified and committed to running more Boston Marathons.

Karen studied Exercise Science at Kansas State University and after graduating became a certified personal trainer. When she realized the role that massage therapy plays in workout recovery, injury prevention, stress reduction and overall wellness, she became a massage therapist. Through her personal health issues and discoveries, Karen realized she was in a position to help others and she founded K2 Wellness. Her practice allowed her to continue her own journey to health while training and educating clients through a natural approach. Karen was able to achieve a dream that many could not: she loved her work and cared deeply about the health of her clients.

Karen surely impacted the lives of every person she came into contact with. She found joy in many things: cooking for family and friends, introducing them to amazing gluten and dairy-free dishes; long Saturday morning runs; relaxing Sunday morning trail hikes; photographing wildflowers; and traveling with her partner Tom. Karen generously supported bulldog rescues around the world and doted on her own bulldogs, Bridgette, Delilah and TAZ.

Karen will be dearly missed by her loving partner, Tom Stelter; her father, Arthur Kalbach; her siblings, Vicki (Dennis) Hopper, Vincent (Shari) Kalbach, and Chris (Jennifer) Kalbach; her nieces, Annie and Ellie Hopper and Morgan and Abby Kalbach; Tom’s daughters, Coley and Tori Stelter and the entire Stelter family; her dog, Taz; and many friends. She was preceded in death by her mother, Wilda Kalbach.

A memorial service for Karen will be held on Saturday, June 27, 4:00 pm at Majorie Goodyear’s House. The address is 6570 N. Village Road Parker, CO 80134. Please see the Facebook event for more details.

Donations in Karen’s name may be made to the K2 Bulldog Rescue Fund. https://gf.me/u/x9x3ft

A memory or message of condolence may be left at www.olingerchapelhill.com


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Karen Jolene Kalbach

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ollie Zad

July 19, 2020

My deepest condolences to the Kalbach and Hopper families. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Karen was a kind and generous soul. I will always remember her for her friendship and brave and persistent spirit. She was an inspiration to many.

Mary Schreck

June 25, 2020

Art and family, we are so sorry to hear of Karen's passing. Sending our thoughts and prayers for you and family.
Our regards - Mary and Dan Schreck

Kay Ruby

June 23, 2020

What a tremendous loss. My condolences to Karen's family and friends. Karen and I ran together in cross country in high school and I was amazed at her determination to get better with each meet. R.I.P. Karen. See you on the other side. ❤

Shane Bangerter

June 23, 2020

Karen, it is with great sadness that I learned of your passing.

Only a few days before hearing the sorrowful news, perhaps at the moment you transcended from this world to the next, I thought of the time we shared in our youth so many years ago.

I thought of when I’d carry your books from one class to the next, the high school letter jackets we wore so proudly, the cold drinks and delicious cookies and sandwiches you would bring to the field on a hot summer day, the trips to Scott City and Garden City for pizza and a movie, and the meals we shared on the farm with your family.

I thought of your kindness and goodness and how I often was just the opposite in my self-centered youth.

I hope your soul is at rest and in peace and that you are able to run on beautiful paths and in valleys full of fresh air, flowers and bright blue skies.

Please know that fond memories of you will always live in my heart and that I am a better person because of you and the time we shared together.

Lindsay Dolce

June 23, 2020

She was such an amazing human, what a loss for all of us who knew her at some point in time. Karen was a wonderful, caring friend and provider who helped me a lot when I had some health issues. I admired her tenacity and strength as a runner and person. Sending my condolences to her family.

Debra Florczak (formerly Lynch)

June 23, 2020

When I lived in Denver, I shared quite a few good times with Karen (Cabi, poker night, nights out at a restaurant/bar near her home, watching her run (no, I'm not a runner). Karen was always kind, giving and happy.

One memory that makes me smile is one time we went to a women's seminar up in the mountains (can't remember the name of it), and we got stuck on an elevator between floors 1 and 2 (so no real danger). Did you know Karen was claustrophobic? I didn't... until then! Karen was always so strong and compassionate, however, during our 30 min. stuck in the elevator, it was me "mothering" her when she said she couldn't breathe. I had my computer, so I had her looking up nonsensical info. just to keep her mind off our predicament. We had some good laughs about it afterwards!

Karen was an angel on earth, and I'm sure is an angel in Heaven now. I will miss her and her beautiful smile. Love and healing to Tom and Karen's family.


Karla Allaman

June 23, 2020

Karen was beautiful inside and out. Heaven is truly a brighter place now

Karla (Burch) Allaman
Class of 1985

Bonnie and Keith Shockley

June 23, 2020

Our deepest sympathy to her family! Karen was a wonderful and caring person. I really admired her physically endurance - I would always see her leaving for a run or bike ride. Karen was never too busy to say “hello” and give a beautiful smile. Keith and I will miss seeing her in the neighborhood.

Ron France

June 20, 2020

So sorry for your loss of Karen. Praying for all of the family as you come to grips with a life cut way too short. Blessings to all of the Kalbach’s.

Kari Vogt

June 20, 2020

Sadden to hear the news of a life that was cut too short for someone that had so much life and energy.

I have fond memories of Karen as a study partner, classmate, and friend.

May you rest in peace.

Kari (Marcy) Vogt - Class of '85
Manhattan, Kansas


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