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Karen Ann Corder

August 29, 1958 May 27, 2014
Karen Ann Corder
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Obituary for Karen Ann Corder
Corder, Karen Ann, age 55 of Centennial. Karen Ann Corder (Reynolds), beloved and loving and devoted mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, passed away in hospice care after a short illness. Karen was born in Indianapolis, IN to Clarence and Alesa Reynolds, the second of two children, and spent the first four years of her life in Beech Grove, a suburb of Indianapolis with her parents and brother Craig. After her parents separated, Karen moved to Denver with her mother and her brother. The family moved frequently, and she attended a number of different schools as she grew up. Several of her summers were spent in the ‘hollers’ of Kentucky, visiting her mother’s relatives. She had fond memories of those visits, with the simple lifestyle and down-home charm of the country life. During her teen years she worked at the infamous Casa Bonita restaurant, where she served and learned to roll enchiladas. Through working she was able to purchase her first car, a large pink convertible. She liked to tell the stories of how she and her friends would slip out of her bedroom window at night and push the car down the street before getting in and starting it up, so her mother wouldn’t hear and stop them. Karen graduated from Denver North High School (barely, by her admission) and moved out on her own to a tiny apartment in the Capitol Hill area. She found work at Labelle’s, and subsequently at USAA in Colorado Springs, in the claim department. She then moved to Allstate, in the claim department, where she met her future husband, Ralph Gillmore. She and Ralph wed in June 1982, and in 1983 she gave birth to her only child, Cole Henry, who was the apple of her eye. The family enjoyed trips to Lake Powell and Lake of the Ozarks, as well as local lakes, for a variety of water sports. The family also skied and camped extensively. Karen took several motorcycle trips with Ralph, and they followed Cole as he competed on the BMX circuit in various parts of the country. Karen went to work for Travelers Insurance as a resident adjuster in the Colorado Springs office in 1987, handling automobile and general liability claims. She was known as a tough, smart adjuster with little patience for claimants who wanted to be paid large sums of money for insignificant injuries. She began handling workers’ compensation claims in 1993, and in 1994 she moved to the Littleton area after she and Ralph separated. Working in the Denver office, she was eventually promoted to supervisor and then unit manager, and in 2002 she was promoted to the Personal Lines Liability Major Case Unit as a director, handling the most severe injury cases. She relished the job and the challenge, achieving a number of favorable settlements and trial results. She suffered a serious back injury in 2001 while working on a charitable housing project, but managed to make a good recovery and return to most of her pre-injury activities, although she did have limitations and pain that she had to deal with. In 2007 she married a fellow Travelers employee, Perry Corder, who she had worked for early in her Travelers career. Karen left Travelers in 2008 and went to work for One Beacon Insurance Company as a liability claims adjuster. She was with One Beacon until 2010, when she took time off to raise the couple’s yellow Lab pup, Ruby, as well as son Cole’s boxer pup, Rooster. These were in addition to her two other mixed-breed dogs, Jake and Annie, which she rescued earlier in 2000. Karen was a great lover of dogs throughout her adult life and showered them with affection and home-made treats, and supported animal shelters. In 2011, she returned to the workforce with Cherry Creek Insurance Agency in a new position they created, Claims Advocate. In this position she was able to use both her extensive claim knowledge and experience as well as her personable demeanor to successfully assist clients of the agency with claim issues and participate in client presentations. She enjoyed both her co-workers as well as the atmosphere at the agency. She was part of the agency’s risk management team and attended a number of games at Invesco Field at Mile High (a client of the agency), walking throughout the stadium while performing risk management tasks. Despite having watched her son Cole play football through high school, she never had much interest in the Bronco games and much to the amusement of family and friends, many times did not know the score after the games or even who the Broncos’ opponent was. Karen enjoyed a number of activities, including travel where she visited much of the continental U.S. plus Hawaii and London. She particularly liked visiting New York City and seeing historical sites and museums, and taking in Broadway and off-Broadway shows. She also enjoyed Washington D.C. with its historical sites and museums. She hunted pheasants with Perry, Cole and friends in South Dakota on a number of occasions and continued to enjoy camping. She loved to read and owned a large collection of books on a wide variety of subjects. In more recent years, she was fascinated with Elizabethan England and read non-fiction and fiction based in that era extensively. She loved murder mysteries, and was a fan of the forensic shows on Discovery ID. She was also a fan of comedy and enjoyed going to comedy shows, watching comedy shows on TV and listening to comedy on the radio. She had varied tastes in music, with blues, both old and new, and old country as her favorites. She was thrilled to be able to see Ray Charles and B.B. King live in concert, and more recently Susan Tedeschi on several occasions. Karen was preceded in death by her father and mother, and will be lovingly missed by those who survive her, including her son Cole, husband Perry, brother Craig, and several cousins, along with many friends she considered family.

A celebration of her life is being planned. Please contact Cole Gillmore at (720) 934-1105 or Perry Corder at (303) 868-2149 if you would like further details.
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