Karen Sue Brust (Collins), 68, of Carthage, Missouri passed away on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Family and friends who love her dearly surrounded and comforted her during her brief stay at Cox South Hospital in Springfield, Missouri.

As it was throughout their marriage, her husband of 20 years, Terry Brust, stood by her and supported her with the greatest love and commitment.

Karen was a highly talented, creative and beautiful artist in every sense of the word and in all aspects of her life – wife, mother, grandmother, friend, daughter, aunt, sister, businesswoman, seamstress, financial planner, and painter. She brought an indescribable kindness and magic to everything she touched and created, and this is especially true for the joy, fun and creativity she brought into the lives of her seven grandchildren who she loved with all of her being.

Karen was born on August 14, 1949, in Joplin, Missouri at Freeman Hospital to Wilbur Richard Collins and Wanda Mae Collins (Hodkin). She graduated from Carthage High School in 1967, where she focused on art and was a member of the Marching Band Color Guard called the “Band-Aids.”

She gave birth to her daughter, Kelly Hunter, on November 19, 1968, and committed her life to loving, inspiring and caring for her, and later for Kelly’s son, Henry Thomas Foster, who became her best friend. She married Terry Brust on November 28, 1997, and they were blessed with a large and loving blended family.

Karen believed that we could all achieve our dreams, even when they seem impossibly out of reach, with dedication, sacrifice and hard work. She had a diverse and successful career, including working in the Carthage Press Advertising Department, at Missouri Southern State College as Secretary to the Controller (1973-1976), as a Teller at Farm & Home Savings (1976-1978); a Sewing Instructor at Singer (1978-1980), a Manager at Mid-American Banking (1980-1983); a Field Underwriter and Registered Representative for New York Life and NYLIFE Securities starting in 1983, and later in management positions at New York Life and KeyBank in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a member of the Webb City Chamber of Commerce; Southwest Missouri Association of Life Underwriters; Joplin Chamber of Commerce; National Association of Female Executives; National Association of Life Underwriters (National Sales Achievement Award, National Quality Award, National Health Quality Award); Life Underwriters Political Action Committee; Missouri Life Leaders; and the Million Dollar Roundtable.

After years of sacrifice and service to others, she achieved her ultimate dream of being a painter – creating and sharing her vision and work with others at the Koka Gallery, ArtCentral Carthage, Spiva Arts, the Carthage Art Walk and elsewhere.

She was a member of artCentral Carthage, Joplin Regional Artists Coalition, and, in 2015, received the McCune Brooks Healthcare Foundation Underwriter Award at the artCentral Annual Membership Exhibition. She was also a longtime member of Soroptomist International and supporter of Camp Soroptomist.

Karen was preceded in death by her parents, and a brother, Shepherd Collins.  Survivors include her husband, Terry Brust, two daughters, Kelly Hunter Foster, of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Carie Brust Bates, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; two sons, Chris (Jenny) Brust, Carthage, Missouri and Chad (Tricia) Brust, Carthage, Missouri; a brother, Dick (Connie) Collins, Hutchinson, Kansas; and seven grandchildren, Henry Thomas Foster, Shailey Bates, Alexa Bates, Colson Brust, Ashlyn Brust, Micah Brust and Macy Brust.  

Visitation was from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at the Knell Mortuary.  Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at the Grace Pointe Assembly of God. Minister Teddy Brust will officiate.

Burial will follow in the Park Cemetery Carthage, Mo. The family suggests contributions to the Ladies Soroptimist of Joplin or Carthage Art Central in care of the Knell Mortuary. Online condolences may be expressed through www.knellmortuary.com. Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Knell Mortuary.