Karen Sue Bronson lost her private battle with lung cancer on December 27, 2022 at her home in Blue Ridge, Georgia. She was born on August 21, 1961 in Mount Gilead, Ohio and raised in Fulton, Ohio. She was the daughter of the late Verna Bronson and Myrtle Fisher Bronson.
Karen had a very successful career working as a Program Analyst at the Department of Commerce. She was very ambitious and very motivated to “start her retirement life” by moving from southern Maryland to the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia.
Three days after she and her husband (Troy Rifenberg) arrived at the nursing home, Karen was found to have stage 4 lung cancer. Though she was haunted by the bad news, she and Troy continued to move forward and carve out her country-style life.
Karen loved animals and took care of 50 dogs and cats, sometimes having up to 15 animals in her family. She was known as the woman who saved the “Mama Girl” dog in Newburgh, Maryland. When Karen and Troy moved to Blue Ridge, Georgia, she was able to bring five of the rescued dogs with her.
Karen was an avid adventurer. She enjoyed the waterways of the Potomac River. She loved combing the beach for shark teeth, sea glass, and anything else she could find on the hunt. I loved riding jet skis and loved swimming with my dog. As with her other water sports, she found solace in fishing and trotting for blue crabs. She loved the challenge of physical labor. She was an avid cyclist, enjoyed training her dogs and ran marathons. She was also an expert mushroom picker, able to recognize the right kind of forest where morel mushrooms reside, sometimes just by smell. A skill she learned from her mother.
As Karen’s illness worsened, she still sought comfort outdoors. On top of that, she still walks her five dogs daily on nature trails at her home.
Even during the ordeal of her terminal illness, Karen kept her spirits high and her faith in Jesus.
She bravely endured a long 26-month struggle for loved ones she didn’t want to leave behind. Those include her husband Troy John Liffenberg. Children, Dustin Moodyspaw of Newnan, Georgia and Jessica Liffenberg of Trapp, Maryland. Siblings, Barb Her Bronson of Fulton, Ohio, Evelyn (Patrick) Sullivan of Summerduck, Virginia, Barney (Michelle) Bronson of Fulton, Ohio and Teresa (Billy) Lanham of Cardington, Ohio. She also leaves behind many other family members and friends of hers.
In lieu of flowers, Karen would like to make a memorial donation to the Valley River Human Society Animal Shelter in Marble, North Carolina (PO Box 658 Murphy, NC 28906) or online at www.valleyriverhumanesociety.org/donate.
A celebration of Karen’s life will be held at her home in Mineral Bluff, Georgia at a later date.
Condolences can be sent to the family online at www.akinscobb.com.
Akins-Cobb Funerals & Cremations of Blue Ridge handled the arrangements.
Akins-Cobb Funerals & Cremations – Published by Blue Ridge, January 2, 2023.