VLS Mourns the Loss of Staff Member Karen Spence
The Villanova Law School community mourns the loss of Karen A. Spence, a long-time staff member who passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, September 29, 2011, two days after suffering an apparent heart attack. As the Administrative Assistant to the Associate Deans of Academic Affairs, Spence was often the first person you met upon entering the Dean’s Office Suite. Her up-beat attitude made every person she encountered feel welcomed and respected.
Spence began her career with Villanova Law School in August 1999 when she was hired as a floating secretary, filling in wherever she was needed. Her unequaled work ethic and competence resulted in increasing responsibilities, and in September 2000, she was promoted to Administrative Assistant for then Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Doris DelTosto Brogan.
“Karen brought brains, common sense, and integrity to all she did, making so many offices and functions run smoothly,” Professor Brogan said. “She never lost her cool, and could manage the most mundane and the most dramatic with grace, effectiveness and aplomb. But this was not Karen’s greatest gift. Her greatest gift was her presence—her buoyant, ever-cheerful, ever-helpful presence. So many students who are now lawyers, faculty members and staff would surely say, ‘She was a great help to me.’”
During her tenure in the Dean’s Office, Spence served four senior administrators, including current Dean John Gotanda. “Karen was a beloved institution at the Law School, who touched everyone in our community. Her dedication, unending desire to help others, humor, energy, positive attitude, and most of all, her friendship, exemplify what our community is all about,” Dean Gotanda said. “Every one of us is blessed to have known Karen, and we all will greatly miss her.”
Spence’s passion outside of work was her family. She is survived by husband Michael A. Spence, son Michael A., Jr. (VU ’10), daughter Meghan, mother MaryEllen Morell, three brothers, two sisters, nieces, nephews and countless friends.
Many gathered in early October to celebrate Karen’s life. Viewings took place on October 3 and October 4 at Donohue Funeral Home in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, and a Funeral Mass was held on October 4 at St. Dorothy's Catholic Church in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.
The Law School will be honored to forward notes of condolence to the Spence Family. Please direct them to: Spence Family, c/o Office of Alumni Relations, 299 North Spring Mill Road, Villanova, PA 19085, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.