Friends Remember Woman Who Turned Tragedy Into Ministry - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/24/07-Tyler

Friends Remember Woman Who Turned Tragedy Into Ministry

Karen Choice spent the last decade of her life helping others. It was a mission begun after the horrific murder of her son, Chad.

Chad's House helps women in Tyler and Smith County whose lives are in turmoil, because of drugs or physical abuse.  Now everyone there and those who knew her are mourning her death.

"I just see the impact that she's put on different people -- the people she's brought into the Chad's House. They don't call her Mrs. Choice. They call her 'Mom,'" says Choice's son Steve Sterling.

From devastation to developing new lives of faith was Karen Choice's mission in life.  It was 1991 when Chad Choice was kidnapped and killed over a drug debt owed by Chad's uncle.

"Karen went through that time, and never lost her faith in God.  She never lost her strength, her courage, and she never lost her optimistic spirit," says Judge Jack Skeen, who was the Smith County District Attorney who prosecuted the crime.

All say Karen had to make her life -- and Chad's life -- count beyond his years.  She began Chad's House to help women in crisis of drugs or abuse.

She told us about them last October.

"You can begin to see the sun just break forth in them. It's healing because you know they have been at the depths of where you have been," she said.

Her son says the same was true with Karen.

"Just like a blossom. As soon as you look at her and say 'hi,' she puts on that smile. It's just a feeling that you can't explain," he said.

Everyone says the mission of Chad's House is never fulfilled, so long as there are people hurting.  For family and friends, their loss is comforted with an belief -- a faith -- as firm and unshakable as Karen's.

"Now [she and Chad] finally are together in Heaven again where they will be for eternity," Skeen says.

"Don't be sorrowful.  Use this as a joy because she's in a better place, and she's holding my brother now, and that's what she'd really want to do.  She wanted to be there," Sterling says.

Karen Choice was 56 years old.  She just found out she had cancer Friday, and quickly became more ill.  She died Sunday.

A memorial service is set for 6:00 p.m. this Sunday at the Community Funeral Home of Tyler. That's on North Border Avenue.

The funeral will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at the Christian Teaching Center on North Broadway.

Morgan Palmer, reporting.

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