Karen Bleibtrey and daughter Sunni
Karen and Sunni Bleibtrey

Many, many teachers are exemplary parents. Karen Bleibtrey’s daughter is a reminder of that.

Karen and her husband, Jim, raised three kids in tiny Victor, Mont. She taught fifth grade science in nearby Corvallis, south of Missoula. It’s no surprise that her kids got a strong message about the value of education. The message echoed in the brain of her teen daughter Sunni, this way: “I love sports. I’m good at basketball and soccer. I could go to a small college and make the team. But, nah. I’ll go to a university where I can focus on my education.”

When she got to Washington State University, Sunni discovered that she could combine her athletic zeal with a career path by majoring in sport management. Now a senior, she’s president of the Sport Management Club and works for WSU Athletics. And, as reported in WSU News, she’s organizing a second Moms Weekend run this coming Saturday — nearly a year after her own mom died, very quickly, of breast cancer.

Karen’s obituary recounted how she found her own career:

“Karen had a great passion for life and her family, but in 1978 she found her other true passion, teaching. For 27 years, she changed students’ lives at Corvallis Middle School, being a beloved friend and teacher to all. Her students meant the world to her. Even over the last few weeks of her life, Karen talked about her students and how she couldn’t wait to return to teaching.”