Updated date:

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

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 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 have 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 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.

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 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.

Karen and Mike Pence at Liberty Ball

One of 8 Gowns Made by Indiana Seamstresses

One of 8 Gowns Made by Indiana Seamstresses

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 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


Sandy Hale on July 24, 2017:

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 from USA on March 07, 2017:

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

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on February 23, 2017:

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

Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 19, 2017:

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

RTalloni on February 18, 2017:

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.

Related Articles