Karen Avenoso

The family and friends of Karen Avenoso mourn her passing on February 25, 1998, at age 31. Wife of Jonathan Sherman, daughter of Ellen and Frank, sister of Kenneth, granddaughter of Lillian Stark, Karen was adored by her family and touched countless others with her words and spirit. Hers was a life far too short.

A graduate of Smithtown High School in Smithtown, New York, she received a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, Phi Beta Kappa, from Dartmouth College and a Master’s Degree in 19th Century English Literature from Oxford College, on a Rhodes Scholarship. She was an education reporter at the New York Daily News and, at her death, the Boston Globe.

The family asks that donations be made to the Karen Avenoso ’88 Scholarship Fund C/O Melanie Norten, Stewardship Office, Dartmouth College, 63 South Main Street, Hanover, N.H. 03755-2047. A memorial service will be held at Temple Emanu-El, 756 East Broad Street, Westfield, New Jersey, at 10:45 AM, on Friday, February 27. (Photograph: Tom Herde, Globe Staff)


Karen Avenoso died peacefully February 25 at her home in Westfield, New Jersey, after an heroic nine-month fight against cancer. She was 31, and treasured by all who knew her.

An English major from Long Island, Karen served as senior class president and founded the Women’s Issues Forum at Dartmouth, where she received the Lockwood prize for best writing by a junior and Katherine Booth Brock Award for community involvement. She later won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, where she completed a master’s degree in English literature, and went on to a career in journalism.

At the time of her death, Karen was an education writer for the Boston Globe, inspiring colleagues there with her talent, energy, and compassion. Doctors diagnosed a lump near her spine in May 1997 as a Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare cancer usually found in children. Two weeks later, Karen married Jonathan Sherman, to whom she had been planning a September wedding.

In memory of Karen and her commitment to helping others, her family has asked that donations be made to the Karen Avenoso ’88 Scholarship Fund, c/o Melanie Norten, Stewardship Office, Dartmouth College, 63 S. Main Street, Hanover, NH 03755-2047.

— Sarah Jackson-Han and Jack Steinberg