Karen Pence: Wife of Vice President

Updated on March 27, 2017
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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


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

Prior to her husband's nomination, had you heard of Karen Pence?

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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 have three children: Michael, Charlotte, and Audrey. Son, Michael, is serving his country as a Marine. Daughter, Charlotte, is a filmmaker having worked on an Emmy award documentary called Fleeced, about seniors being targeted for scams. Youngest daughter,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 Independent, except of course in her father's election. All three of the children were supportive during their father's campaign.

An All American Family

(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 to be Indiana's 50th governor in 2013. As 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

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 plans to use her voice as second lady to raise public awareness of art therapy.

Second Lady's Official Platform as Described by the White House

As Second Lady of the United States, Karen Pence works to bring attention to issues facing children and families by shining the spotlight on the mental health profession of art therapy.

Those who benefit from art therapy include individuals who have survived trauma resulting from combat, abuse, and natural disaster; people with adverse physical health conditions such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, and other health disability; individuals with autism, dementia, depression and other disorders

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 would wear 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 8 dresses each for herself and two daughters. This was a monumental task to make 24 dresses in two months.

Karen And Mike Pence at Liberty Ball

One of 8 Gowns Made by Indiana Seamstresses
One of 8 Gowns Made by Indiana Seamstresses | Source

Karen Chose Her Wedding Dress Seamstress to Make Inaugural Gowns

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 make a good balance and working together to promote their ideas and being dedicated to their projects can't help but mean good things for the country. Time will tell.

Questions & Answers

    © 2017 Thelma Raker Coffone


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      • profile image

        Sandy Hale 9 months ago

        It was great to learn more about the Vice President's wife. To be honest, I didn't know anything at all about her. Thanks for enlightening me.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 13 months ago from USA

        She seems like a humble woman. Interesting that she was divorced upon marrying her husband.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 14 months ago from sunny Florida

        Thank you for helping me to get to know Mrs. Pence....

        Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

        This was interesting. Rarely do we learn anything about the Vice-President's wife...thanks for the info.

      • RTalloni profile image

        RTalloni 14 months ago from the short journey

        Thanks for this look at Mrs. Pence's life. It was interesting to read about some of the events of her life. I've thought about her future, but not her past.