posted July 3, 2009

Cancer Claims Life of Coach Karen Page

Karen Page, a leader in the advancement of tennis at the high school, college and community levels, died Friday, July 3, 2009, at the Hospice House in Holland following a long, courageous battle against cancer.

Page, 60, most recently was serving as director of the college's DeWitt Tennis Center and coached the Hope women's tennis team the past 12 years.

"She was a very special lady, so enthusiastic, so energetic," longtime colleague Dwayne "Tiger" Teusink '58 told The Holland Sentinel.  "She motivated everyone around her.  She promoted loyalty and respect with her players.  She was a role model."

"Positive energy and spirit were the hallmarks of Karen Page's life. Every woman she coached, every person she touched was the beneficiary of her strong touchstones of enthusiasm and passion, not just for the game of tennis but for the joy of life," said Eva Dean '83 Folkert, co-director of athletics at Hope. "I honestly can't remember a time when in the space of five minutes -- whether in competition or conversation, I did not see a smile come across KP's face. We will greatly miss such a terrific role model to students and women. We will greatly miss such a treasured coach and friend."

Page guided the Hope Flying Dutch to conference championships in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. The 1998, 2000 and 2009 Flying Dutch earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. Although a recurrence of cancer this spring did not allow her to actively coach the team, it also did not deter her from being with her squad at the conference and NCAA tournaments.

Page had an extensive background as a teacher and coach of tennis. She previously served as coach of the boys' and girls' varsity teams at HollandWestOttawaHigh School. She also coached the Holland community's adult women USTA travel teams.

She served as president of the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association and was a certified tennis teaching professional.

She was presented the distinguished service award by the Western Michigan Tennis Association for outstanding leadership and service and named to the Hall of Fame of the Michigan High School Tennis Coaches Association. She was a graduate of Iowa State University.

Survivors include her husband, Tom Page '72; a twin sister, Karyl Garbo (Jack Whitley) of Phoenix, Ariz.; and a brother, Tim, of Montana.

A memorial service was held in Dimnent Memorial Chapel on Sunday, July 5, and led by the Rev. Paul Boersma '82, who is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Endowed Senior Chaplain at Hope.