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Karen Sue Pence (née Batten, formerly Whitaker; born January 1, 1957) is an American educator, teacher, painter, and since 2017, the Second Lady of the United States. She is married to former Governor of Indiana and the 48th and current Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence. She was formerly the First Lady of Indiana from January 14, 2013 to January 9, 2017.

Karen Pence
Karen Pence official portrait.jpg
Second Lady of the United States
Assumed role
January 20, 2017
Vice PresidentMike Pence
Preceded byJill Biden
First Lady of Indiana
In role
January 14, 2013 – January 9, 2017
GovernorMike Pence
Preceded byCheri Daniels
Succeeded byJanet Holcomb
Personal details
Born
Karen Sue Batten

(1957-01-01) January 1, 1957 (age 61)
Kansas, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)
Steve Whitaker
(m. 1978)
(divorced)
Mike Pence (m. 1985)
Children3, including Charlotte
ResidenceNumber One Observatory Circle
EducationButler University (BS, MS)

Contents

Early life and education

Pence was born as Karen Sue Batten[1] in Kansas[2][3] on January 1, 1957,[4] the daughter of Lillian (née Hacker; 1931–2004)[5] and John M. Batten (1931/1932–1988), a United Airlines official.[6] Her parents divorced when she was very young, and her mother married Bernard Barcio in 1967.[7] She grew up in the Broad Ripple Village neighborhood of Indianapolis, where she graduated as valedictorian from Bishop Chatard High School.[8][9] Pence attended nearby Butler University where she studied to become a teacher, and minored in art.[10] She received both a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and a Master of Science (M.S.) in elementary education from Butler University.[11]

Career

Pence has taught at John Strange Elementary, Acton Elementary, Fall Creek Elementary, and the Orchard School, all in Indianapolis.[10]

After the birth of her first child, Pence took a class in watercolor painting. This led to a career painting portraits of houses[10] and historic buildings.[12] She has completed as many as thirty-five paintings a year, some on commission and selling others at local art fairs.[11]

First Lady of Indiana

Pence was the First Lady of Indiana during her husband's term as governor of the state from 2013 to 2017. In her first year of the role, she established the Indiana First Lady's Charitable Foundation to "promote individuals and organizations that encourage children, families, and the arts", also offering grants and scholarships.[11]

While first lady in 2015, Pence started a small business named "'That's My Towel!' Charm" which makes metal charms for attaching to towels so they can be more easily identified when among others. The business was put on hold when Mike Pence became a vice presidential candidate.[11]

Second Lady of the United States

 
Mike and Karen Pence with Gold Star Wives of America, April 2017

Pence became the Second Lady of the United States on January 20, 2017, succeeding Jill Biden. She hired Kristan King Nevins as her chief of staff; Nevins had served in the same position under former first lady Barbara Bush.[9][13] As second lady, Pence intends to raise awareness of art therapy, to which she was first exposed when visiting a Washington hospital during her husband's tenure as a congressman.[12][14] In October 2017, she visited the campus of Florida State University to highlight the university's art therapy program, which dates back to the 1990s.[15]

Family and personal life

While in high school, she met her first husband, John Steven Whitaker. They were married on August 4, 1978, in Brewster County, Texas, and later divorced.[16][17][9] Whitaker was a medical student during their marriage.[9]

Karen met Mike Pence while she was playing guitar at Mass at St. Thomas Aquinas Church,[10] a Catholic church they both attended.[18] Their first date included ice skating at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.[19] After about nine months of dating,[19] they became engaged in August 1984[10] and married on June 8, 1985.[10][20][21] They were both Roman Catholic and later converted to evangelical Christianity by 1995.[9] The couple has three children: Michael (serving in the U.S. Marine Corps),[14] Charlotte, and Audrey.[10][11] Pence has lived most of her life in Indiana, though the entire family moved to Washington, D.C. for the twelve years that husband Mike was a congressman from Indiana before his election as governor of Indiana.[11][12] She is a trained pilot.[10][11]

Pence is known for her dedication to promoting art as a way of healing.[22] She provided the watercolor illustrations for her daughter Charlotte's 2018 children's book, Marlon Bundo's A Day in the Life of the Vice President, the proceeds from which are given to charities, including an art therapy program.[23]

References

  1. ^ Staff Reports (January 13, 2013). "Karen Pence: Holding political office always important to Mike Pence". The Republic. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  2. ^ "7 Things to Know About Karen Pence, VP Mike Pence's Wife". Cosmopolitan. March 29, 2017.
  3. ^ Bixenspan, David (October 4, 2016). "Karen Pence's secret first marriage". Politics. Death and Taxes. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "Meet the Future Second Lady". Trump for America. Archived from the original on November 29, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2017.
  5. ^ "Lillian R. Barcio Obituary". tributes.com. Tributes, Inc. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  6. ^ "John Batten dies; ex-airline official". newspapers.com. The Indianapolis Star. March 6, 1988. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  7. ^ Neal, Andrea (2018-08-01). Pence: The Path to Power. Indiana University Press. ISBN 9781684350384.
  8. ^ "Karen (Batton) Pence, '75, Indiana's First Lady". Bishop Chatard High School. September 19, 2016. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d e Parker, Ashley (March 28, 2017). "Karen Pence is the vice president's 'prayer warrior,' gut check and shield". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h Rudavsky, Shari (December 12, 2013). "Karen Pence is right at home". The Indianapolis Star. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Maloney, Maggie (March 20, 2017). "Who Is Karen Pence? 7 Facts About VP Mike Pence's Wife". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c Superville, Darlene (February 17, 2017). "Karen Pence, the vice president's wife, aims to raise awareness about art therapy". The Washington Times. Associated Press. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  13. ^ Klein, Betsy (February 7, 2017). "Second Lady Karen Pence hires chief of staff". Politics. CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  14. ^ a b Klein, Betsy (April 14, 2017). "Karen Pence highlights art therapy with Asia-Pacific trip". Politics. CNN. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  15. ^ Rohrer, Gray (October 18, 2017). "2nd Lady Karen Pence unveils art therapy initiative at FSU". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved October 20, 2017.
  16. ^ "Texas Marriages, 1966-2010". familysearch.org. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  17. ^ "Indiana, Marriage Certificates, 1958–2005: Michael Richard Pence". ancestry.com. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  18. ^ Boorstein, Michelle (July 18, 2016). "What it means that Mike Pence called himself an 'evangelical Catholic'". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  19. ^ a b Chokshi, Niraj (January 20, 2017). "Who Is Karen Pence? A Brief Introduction to the Second Lady". The New York Times. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  20. ^ "Pence-Whitaker [marriage announcement]". newspapers.com. The Columbus Herald. June 21, 1985. Retrieved December 13, 2016.
  21. ^ Glum, Julia (July 14, 2016). "Who Is Karen Pence? Meet Mike Pence's Wife, Potential US Second Lady From Indiana". International Business Times. Retrieved July 15, 2016.
  22. ^ Stark, Liz (August 12, 2016). "How Indiana First Lady Karen Pence Came to Champion the Healing Power of the Arts". ABC News. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  23. ^ Roberts, Roxanne (March 14, 2018). "He's Bunny of the United States. And now he's the hero of a children's book, too". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 19, 2018.

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Cheri Daniels
First Lady of Indiana
2013–2017
Succeeded by
Janet Holcomb
Preceded by
Jill Biden
Second Lady of the United States
2017–present
Incumbent