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Obituary of Karen Hinrichs

Karen Hinrichs

Karen Hinrichs passed away on May 22, 2015, among family and friends, surrounded by the beauty of her own creations and the love she radiated.

She was born on Feb. 7, 1944 in Roswell, New Mexico, of Kathryn Mathias of Taylorville, Illinois, and Stanley Aloysius Marcinek of Dorr, Michigan.

From the early part of her life, Karen was an artist, adventurer and free-thinker. Her favorite present as a child was a box of 64 crayons.

She exceled at the Catholic high school she attended in Santa Monica, becoming a National Merit Scholar. She studied art at UCLA.

In 1963, she married architect James Reneau, later traveling through Europe visiting art and architecture there as well as her ancestral home and relatives in Croatia.

In the late sixties her marriage dissolved, and she moved to Venice, Calif. with her two young children, April and Jon.

She met Ludi Hinrichs in 1973 through an art and music-centered spiritual community in Los Angeles. They married in 1976 and had their daughter, Samantha.

In 1979, they moved to Nevada County, where Karen became an entrepreneur. Her Spring Street Café had the second espresso machine in the area. Later, she bought a food wagon serving frozen yogurt, traveling around the state. She also catered many events and weddings.

In 1989, after the two oldest children had moved out, Karen and Ludi felt the call of off-the-grid living and moved to the San Juan Ridge.

Karen joined the board of directors of the North Columbia Schoolhouse Cultural Center where she focused on high-caliber events, such as Gamelan Sekar Jaya and the Sierra Storytelling Festival.

She worked in design and production for Ridge business Extasia and had a long-lasting relationship with a life-drawing group on the Ridge.

She transitioned into watercolors almost exclusively. She painted flowers, food, her home, the human body, for beauty and nature were her passion and muse.

She will be remembered for her culinary skills, inspiring character, reliable presence, very clever mind, generously sweet smile, her watercolors and the part she played in the Nevada County community.

She is survived by her husband Ludi; daughters, April and Samantha; son, Jon; grandsons, Connor, Eric and Mathew; and granddaughters, Soleil and Audrey.


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