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Karen Pence: Wife of the Former Vice President

Thelma Raker Coffone is an award winning non-fiction writer. She enjoys sharing information about America's presidents and their families.

Second Lady, Karen Pence

Second Lady, Karen Pence


Karen Pence, wife of former vice president Mike Pence, was Second Lady of the United States. She is also a mother, a former elementary school teacher, and was previously the first lady of the state of Indiana during her husband's governorship. That is an impressive resume. Let's explore each of her roles.

Marriage to Mike Pence

Born on November 18, 1958, in Kansas, she graduated from Butler University where she studied elementary education and art. Her teaching career took her to schools in Indianapolis.

She met her husband, Mike Pence, at the Catholic church they both attended during college and they married in 1985. It was Mike's first marriage. However, Karen had been married previously and was divorced.

The Pence Children

The couple has three children: Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey. Michael is serving his country as a Marine. Charlotte is a filmmaker who worked on an Emmy award-winning documentary called Fleeced, which discusses seniors being targeted for scams. Audrey does not see eye to eye with her father when it comes to politics. She calls herself socially liberal and admits to voting as an independent, except of course in her father's election. All three of the children were supportive during their father's campaign.

Since her position as Second Lady ended, she stepped into another role. In March 2021 she became a first-time grandmother to son Michael's new daughter, Avery.

(Left to Right) Audrey, Charlotte, Michael, Karen, Mike Pence

(Left to Right) Audrey, Charlotte, Michael, Karen, Mike Pence

Role as First Lady of Indiana

Mrs. Pence was an elementary school teacher for 25 years before her husband was elected Indiana's 50th governor in 2013. As the first lady of Indiana, she played an active role in many areas, especially children's health issues. She founded the Indiana First Lady's Charitable Foundation, an organization that works to encourage and support youth and families in her home state.

She was an official Bicentennial Ambassador for Indiana's 200th birthday celebration in 2016, traveling to all 92 counties in the state for festivities.

Painting of a Peony by Karen Pence

Painting of a Peony by Karen Pence

Role as Second Lady of the United States

Karen has a master's degree in art education and enjoys painting watercolors, especially of historical buildings and homes.

She is an advocate for art therapy, a little-known process to help patients with behavioral disorders and addictions. Patients explore their feelings and conflicts by using their creative talents while reducing anxiety. She was successful in using her voice as Second Lady to raise public awareness of art therapy.

The Making of the Inaugural Ball Gowns

Unlike first lady Melania Trump, Karen did not choose famous designers to create the dresses she and her daughters wore to the inaugural balls. Instead, she called on an Indianapolis seamstress who made Karen's wedding dress over 30 years earlier. She placed an order for eight dresses each for herself and two daughters. This was a monumental task to make 24 dresses in two months.

One of Eight Gowns Made by Indiana Seamstresses

One of Eight Gowns Made by Indiana Seamstresses

Flying Is Her Second Passion!

Art isn't Karen's only passion. She is also a trained pilot and loves to fly. Flying is in her blood as she was born on an Air Force base and her father later worked for United Airlines. Her son is a pilot and flight instructor.

The Girl Next Door

Karen Pence has been described as the girl next door. Many call her "down to earth" and "real," saying what you see is what you get. Those words have not been used to describe Mrs. Trump. Both ladies have their own personalities and character traits. They both exude a charm and sense of style that is their own. They seem to have made a good balance while working together to promote their ideas and were dedicated to their projects which meant good things for the country.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2017 Thelma Raker Coffone