Karen Kirkman McKinney, 50, of Laurel Pointe Drive, Nebo, NC, died Monday, March 31, 2008 at her residence following a period of declining health. Born in Randolph County, NC on July 5, 1957, she was the daughter of Roy Franklin Kirkman and Margaret Ann Stockwell Cox. She was a member of Oak Hill United Methodist Church.Karen had been in the nursing field for over thirty years. Starting out in dietary at Grace Hospital, she worked there while attending school for her associate degree from Western Piedmont Community College. She then attended UNC Greensboro for her BSN in nursing. While at Grace Hospital she worked in medsurg, pediatric, community health, occupational health, and home health. Her high point while at Grace was when she joined the City of Morganton’s "Rent-a-nurse" program, which was part of the occupational health program. While involved with the program Karen taught wellness programs to the public and helped with cholesterol screenings.Karen was always such a caring, loving soul and it reflected in her work. She also loved teaching aerobics, which she did at the Racquets, Spa Lady, and at Fit and Thin. She was dedicated to fitness and loved showing others how to have fun while staying active.For the last eight years she has been at Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville serving as the director of the wound center. She took such pride in her ability to lead and direct others. She led over 30 employees with compassion and grace. Karen was loved by everyone who had the privilege of knowing her. Her smile was contagious. She will be deeply missed.Karen is survived by her husband, Randy McKinney of the home; a daughter, Jill McKinney and her children, Trey and Mackinsey Sawyer, all of Morganton; a step-daughter, Kristi Byers and her children, Gavvin and Noah, all of Morganton; her father, Roy F. Kirkman and wife, Donna, of Randleman, NC; her mother, Margaret S. Cox and husband, Charles, of Asheboro, NC; her paternal grandmother, Beulah Kirkman of Randleman; her maternal grandmother, Leona Stockwell of Randleman; a brother, Kevin Cox of Asheboro; sisters, Kim Kirkman of Holden Beach, NC and Lisa Edmisten of Bear Creek, NC; and a number of nieces and nephews.Karen was preceded in death by her paternal grandfather, Junius Kirkman, and her maternal grandfather, Harold Stockwell.The family will receive friends from 3:00 until 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, 3008 at El Bethel Baptist Church followed by a celebration of Karen’s life at 5:30 with Reverends Mark Denton, April Abernethy, and Gary Moger officiating. Burial will follow in Oak Hill United Methodist Church Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to Burke Hospice & Palliative Care, Inc., 1721 Enon Road, Valdese, NC 28690 or to Hospice of McDowell County, 218 Logan Street, Marion, NC 28752. Sossoman Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements.

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