May 25, 1950 – January 24, 2019
Karen Terstappen Morr died Thursday, January 24, 2019, after a three year fight with a rare form of cancer. She was 68.
Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1950, Ms. Morr was the daughter of Horace H. and Barbara M. (Bensing) Terstappen. She grew up in Newtown Square, PA and graduated from Marple Newtown High School in 1968 where she was a celebrated scholar and athlete, particularly in field hockey. She graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Sweet Briar College in Virginia with a degree in French and Political Science. She spent her college junior year studying in France at the Institut d’Etudes Science Politique. The experience of studying abroad kindled a lifelong love of international travel and influenced the direction of her career.
Ms. Morr also earned a Master in Economics degree from Virginia Polytechnic and State University and in 1986 a Master in International Public Policy degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC.
In 1974, she married Thomas G. Morr of Wooster, OH, and the couple had two daughters, Stephanie M. Kazama, Ph.D. and Heather M. Klemann, Ph.D. The Morrs settled in Vienna, VA, in suburban Washington, DC.
She was recruited to join the CIA in 1973, which led to a 33-year career at the Agency centered on global economic research and analysis.
Ms. Morr held several positions of growing responsibility while employed by the CIA. Among her assignments, she served as Branch Chief of Latin America East, Research Director for the Foreign Subversion and Instability Center and Deputy Chief of the Middle America Cuba Division in the 1980’s.
In 1993, she developed and led the Daily Economic Intelligence Brief (DEIB) to support the newly-created National Economic Council. A special TV episode of Joan Lunden’s “Behind Closed Doors” documented her leadership on the DEIB. She was promoted into the Senior Intelligence Service (SIS) for her work.
In 2001, while serving in the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), she was asked to help build an intelligence analysis office for the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She served as the first Director of Strategic Assessments at the new Department and later became the Acting Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis. For that work she was awarded the National Intelligence Medal of Achievement by the Director of National Intelligence.
Karen served DHS on loan from the CIA from 2002 until her retirement in 2006. She was a member of several professional associations related to national intelligence issues.
After the CIA and DHS, she continued her work to support the Intelligence Community in training, analysis and business development at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), now Leidos, until 2016.
In Vienna, Ms. Morr was a member of Vienna Presbyterian Church, and an active participant in local parent-teacher association programs and Girl Scout troops. She was a gifted writer and pianist, an avid bike rider, a devoted friend and lover of travel and French cooking. She approached life with energy, intensity, and with a beautiful smile and an infectious laugh. She gave her all to anything she took on.
In 2014, the Morrs moved to Marco Island, FL, where Ms. Morr devoted her time to boating, genealogy, friends and her family. There they joined the First Presbyterian Church of Naples.
If asked to identify her most important achievement in life, Ms. Morr would answer it was the raising of her two accomplished daughters. Her greatest joy and satisfaction came from her love of family and she particularly delighted in her five grandchildren. She was proud of them all.
Ms. Morr is survived by her husband, Thomas Morr of Marco Island, FL; her mother, Barbara Bensing Terstappen of Naples, FL; her daughters, Stephanie Morr Kazama of Atlanta, GA, and Heather Morr Klemann of Greenwich, CT; her sister Kathy Terstappen Hulme of Laguna Niguel, CA; her two sons-in-law, Andrew M. Kazama and Gilbert H. Klemann; and five grandchildren: James M. Kazama, Grace A. Kazama, Eleanor B. Klemann, Beatrice H. Klemann, and Gilbert L. Klemann, III.
There will be a private memorial and burial service. Instead of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Karen’s memory to the First Presbyterian Church of Naples at 250 Sixth Street S, Naples, Florida 34102.
No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
February 14, 2019
Dear Morr Family,
Please accept my condolences for the loss of your Karen. She was a very special amazing lady. I knew Karen from her daughter, a beautiful kind heart friend Heather and your talented three grandchildren Eleanor, Beatrice and Gilbert, who I am their piano teacher in Greenwich. They are so proud of their grandmom. I admire Karen since I knew more about her. Her field of vision and dedication to the children's education and came up to New York to attend and celebrate her young grandchildren's Carnegie Hall Piano winning performance. She encouraged us to be the best people, best mom we could be.
I will pray that your faith will give you strength in this sad time. She will be truly missed.
February 12, 2019
I am very saddened to hear of Karen's passing. Karen was a first class colleague. I remember vividly her leadership of the Daily Economic Intelligence Brief and her getting me into the Old EOB to brief Bo Cutter and other senior officials at odd hours of the morning. Eventually I even got in to see the President. She was effective, generous ,and personable throughout. We will all miss her.
February 11, 2019
Dear Morr Family,
My deepest condolences on Karen's passing. I worked closely with her during the Asian financial crisis. The traits I remember most about her were her energy, dedication, intellect, and kindness. Not all the professionals with whom I worked were able to combine all those traits so gracefully. Karen was a wonderful example to all who worked with her.
February 11, 2019
I have started these memorial thoughts several times but have not been able to finish because of my deep grief over losing my best friend, Karen. We became friends in junior high school and remained best friends until her passing. We were maid-of-honors in each other’s weddings. While our lives took different paths with jobs and geography, we always made it a point to stay connected and pick up where we left off.
Karen gave me glimpses of her accomplishments while working in the CIA, but I had no idea how remarkable her career was until I read her obituary. This modesty was so typical of Karen. Karen was always so focused and determined to excel in everything that she did. This applied obviously to her career. However,it also applied to her role as a daughter, wife, mother and grandmother; even up until the end of her battle with cancer.
I was lucky enough to be with Karen shortly before she passed away. From the time she was diagnosed until her passing, I never really heard her complain about her pain or her fate. She was always uncomfortable talking about herself and instead would ask how others were doing.
While Karen was very focused in her career, her true love was her family. Her will to live was fueled by her deep love of her family. She was so proud of her daughters’ accomplishments. She loved being a grandmother and spending as much time as possible with her grandchildren. She was particularly thankful of how caring her husband, Tom, was, especially during her years while battling her cancer. Karen knew she was truly blessed with such a supportive and caring family.
I will dearly miss my friend, Karen. I take comfort that she is no longer suffering and that she now has everlasting peace.
February 8, 2019
To the family:
Know that God is still God and find peace in that fact!
I worked with Karen at SAIC and she left a lasting impression on my life. It was Karen that gave me some of the best pre-marital advice. It was Karen that helped me select the right wedding set. It was Karen that showered with me with the cutest baby girl clothes when I was expecting my first child. It was Karen who gave me the biggest hug as I took the leap of faith to leave SAIC for other opportunities. She lived a life of purpose. Please take comfort in knowing she was not only loved, but appreciated for all that she seeded into others. May she rest in heavenly peace.
February 8, 2019
Dear Morr famy and friends,
My deepest condolences on the loss of your Karen. I was very privileged to have worked with her on several challenging projects, and she was a daily shining light in our lives. I enjoyed immensely her humor, infectious laugh, sparkling eyes and wit, in addition to her kindness and intellect. She was one of a kind, and greatly admired by all. A true patriot and a fabulous person. I loved hearing about her interests outside of work, and will miss comparing notes and her easy ability to laugh. She was a gift and is truly missed.
Donald Van Duyn
February 4, 2019
Karen's passing is a loss to all. She was a wonderful colleague and friend, and a woman of enthusiastic grace, who remained pleasant and cheerful at all times. Her contributions to intelligence were ground breaking, forging a path for economic analysis at the CIA and helping create the intelligence structure at DHS. She will be sorely missed.
February 3, 2019
Dear Tom, Barbara, Stephanie, Heather, and families:
I was a colleague of Karen for many years at CIA, then for a time after 9/11 at the White House Transition Planning Office for the Department of Homeland Security, and finally for the period she worked so effectively to get the new department up and running. She brought impressive professional expertise, advanced problem-solving skills, and keen collegial instincts to every challenge that came her way. You all can be proud, as we are, of the positive impact she had for over three decades on America’s national security mission. I will remember her with particular affection for her appealing personal qualities: her can-do attitude, her unfailing optimism, her thoughtfulness and generosity, her easy laugh and ready smile—and for her bedrock confidence and calm in a sometimes frenzied and chaotic workplace. I am saddened by Karen’s passing but grateful for the example of a woman of character and accomplishment who always managed to lighten our load and lift our spirits. I wish her family, which she adored, peace and consolation in the days ahead.
January 31, 2019
I was so very saddened to hear the news of Karen's passing. We came to know each other through those Daily Economic Intelligence Briefings in the Old Executive Office Building during the first Clinton administration; I did the scheduling. Karen's warmth and kindness were extraordinary and so natural. After I moved to NYC, we met for coffee several times and I always enjoyed her stories and catching up. My most sincere condolences to Karen's family and friends. Karen was a great American. Rest in Peace. Much love.
January 30, 2019
I am so saddened to hear this news. After reading Karen's legacy, I am in awe of her accomplishments and her service to our nation. I will always remember picking Karen and Cathy up, along with half the neighborhood kids to walk to Culbertson School to get the bus to Junior and Senior High; hanging at the pool and endless games of Canasta; talking about boys and the Beatles. Thanks for the memories, Karen! You will be missed. I send prayers and condolences to the family.
January 30, 2019
We were welcomed into Mrs. Morr's home in Marco Island despite the chaos of the three kids that we brought with us. We came to spend time with our dear friends, Stephanie, Andy, James, and Grace Kazama. I wish I had known all of the amazing accomplishments of our host. I can say that she raised a daughter that is one of the best people I know- a friend always despite the distance, a mother with the right priorities, and one of the most humble, down-to-earth, funniest souls on the planet-sounds like she got those qualities from her mother. Thinking of you Steph and love you. The Tonidandels
Karen Nonnemacher Mills
January 30, 2019
Kathy and Barbara and Karen’s Family, this must be so hard for you. I’m so sorry that Karen has passed. Her lifetime achievements are beyond what could have been imagined when we were all little kids in Newtown Square. She remained as beautiful on the outside as she was on the inside. I know that your pride for her accomplishments and memories of family will always remain close to your heart (I can still hear you giggling and splashing in the pool). Know that she helped our country in its time of need. Rest In Peace, Karen, what an amazing life you lived. Heartfelt condolences to Barbara, Karen and family.
January 30, 2019
One of my favorite memories of Karen was when I stopped in for the night at their home in Vienna. I had not seen her, Tom and the girls for several years but there was no question when I asked if I could stay with them for the night. The look of relief on Karen's face when I remembered the names of her daughters was priceless. As I recall, they knew about "Uncle Chip" but were pretty convince I would not remember who they were. As a testament to her love of family, I could see how happy it made Karen seeing the joy on the faces of her children when I immediately addressed them by name.
You will be missed, Karen. Much love, cousin Chip
January 29, 2019
I was Karen’s senior intelligence analyst on loan from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory when the Department of Homeland Security was established in February/March of 2003. Karen, my good friend Tommy Faust, (me) and a handful of others took on the challenge/responsibility of building out an intelligence program capable of informing DHS Secretary Tommy Ridge and his leadership team on threats to the Homeland as part of the greater Intelligence Community struggle to discern the threat from al Qaeda and others. We were a Great team trying our best to make sense of those intent on attacking us and Karen had the tough job of leading, managing and directing our efforts. She did a superb job - she was extraordinary. Very sad to hear this. Rest In Peace American Hero.
Janice Williams Robinson
January 29, 2019
You need to know what a joy your wife, mother, and grandmother was to have as a colleague and friend. She and I collaborated very closely on the Daily Economic Intelligene Brief. She was always a go to person when there was a new economic analysis problem to tackle or a new policymaker to cultivate and demonstrate our strength on the issues. She was the key architect of our successful relationship with President Clinton’s economic advisor — Bo Cutter. Karen was the best!
LTG PATRICK HUGHES, USA (Ret)
January 29, 2019
Karen was one of the best intelligence officers I was ever privileged to work with. I will forever be thankful that our paths crossed -- she was my friend and confidant when I needed one. She was a treasure for our nation. Rest in peace Karen -- see you at the next rally point. I offer my final salute to a superb "intelligence soldier.
January 29, 2019
Karen was a driving force who created DHS Intelligence. Energetic, smart and quick and a superb boss. The Nation owes her a debt of gratitude for all she did throughout her career. RIP.
January 28, 2019
So sorry to hear this news. Karen was a well respected leader in intelligence analysis whose professionalism, expertise, and upbeat disposition were an example for her colleagues. Despite all the stress of her job, I never saw her react in anger or dismiss others’ views out of hand. My heart goes out to her family and friends.
January 28, 2019
So sad to learn of Karen's passing. She was a close colleague for many years, sharing a love of economics and analysis. She never seemed more animated than when we were working together to figure out which emerging market might succumb to a financial or balance of payments crisis. Years after she retired, when we would bump into one another in the cafeteria, we would quickly strike up a conversation about global economic developments. She never miss ed a beat, staying current own all the was going on.
Karen inspired many, me included, with her sharp mind, her hard work, and her dedication to her craft. She was warm and funny and always had time for her colleagues.