Karen Schefmeyer

Karen Murphy.  Coco Schefmeyer.

One and the same.  Karen Murphy, the journalist.  Coco Schefmeyer, hostess extraordinaire, downtown activist, exuberant board member of the Friends of the Snite Museum of Art.

Like many board members, Karen has juggled numerous duties including her current position as vice president of the program division. Whatever position she takes on, she brings a heightened sense of enthusiasm and energy.

After an idyllic childhood growing up on a Christmas tree farm near LaPaz, Karen became a journalist and worked most prolifically as a freelance writer for the Associated Press, Indianapolis Star, The New York Times, and currently, Reuters.

A tender-hearted soul who dotes on her menagerie of cats and would just as soon work in her garden or plant hundreds of daffodil bulbs in her woods, she found her journalistic focus on crime writing.  While working on a business story some 20-plus years ago, she met Don Schefmeyer; they married a couple of years later.

“At first he scared the hell out of me,” Karen laughs.  “But I broke my cardinal rule of never dating a source.  We’ve been writing our story ever since.”

A big part of Karen’s story is her work for the past 11 years as secretary and media person for the Howard Park/East Bank Neighborhood Association, a watchdog group of residents and business leaders.  Recently, she spearheaded the “Save Howard Park” campaign which raised 800 signatures in 10 days to save South Bend’s oldest park from development.

Of course, her role on the Friends’ board tells another side of her story. “This board is extraordinary and that’s why I wanted to be on it. The people are amazing,” she says. “I asked myself how can I contribute? Well, I enjoy throwing parties!”

Indeed, her organizational skills have been key to much of her work. She and Don have served as chairs of the Dinner and Decorations committees for the Christmas Benefit Gala.

Becky Emmons, Friends Board of Directors

October 2014