Remembering Karen Credgington, an Annie Wright Icon

Annie Wright Schools' beloved Karen Credgington, who served on staff for more than 20 years overseeing housing, housekeeping and dining services, passed away at her home in Tacoma, Washington, Monday, June 8, 2020, after a long struggle with Parkinson’s disease. Mrs. Credgington's obituary is available here.

In 1992, Karen was the first recipient of the LT Murray Chair for Excellence, awarded once every two years to an AWS faculty or staff member who demonstrates the following personal and professional qualities: distinguished service to the AWS community, community involvement beyond the school that promotes the goals and philosophy of AWS and excellence in academics that encourages global understanding. Current faculty and staff appreciate Karen's meticulous notes about Annie Wright "Odds & Ends" from 1975-2002.

Remembering Karen
by Joy Phelps, Annie Wright Lower & Middle School Admissions Director

Karen Credgington might be remembered best for her reserved, quiet, private, and stately comportment. Or perhaps it was the elegance, class, and grace that she required of every Annie Wright event. Or maybe it was her subtle sense of humor that seemed to surface when we least expected, and her sparkly eyes when she laughed. I’m sure we can all agree that underlying all of these we remember her unparalleled lemon bars!

Karen is remembered for all of the above and more! Without fail, Karen made sure everything was just right…and that everyone was pleased. She was the consummate provider, for the students, faculty, administration, and some very special guests. No one else could have prepared for the visits of former First Lady Barbara Bush or Desmond Tutu quite the way Karen did. There is no question!

From delicious food, elegant service, clean and comfortable quarters, a very warm welcome to homemade cookies after school for faculty, Karen made everyone feel special. Twice a week after school, Karen and her staff provided Lower, Middle and Upper School teachers the chance to connect informally over coffee or tea and a variety of homemade cookies, served elegantly of course!

As reserved as she might have appeared, Karen was a connector. She connected with her staff, parents, students, faculty, and administration, making lifelong friendships that no doubt started in her volunteering days and lasted way beyond her service to the School.

Karen set the bar high, not only for how to uphold and exhibit the qualities of such a stately and historic institution as what Annie Wright, but how to welcome and entertain with such panache and humility. BUT, as importantly, if not more so, she set the bar on how to be a loyal friend, wife, and mom. It’s no small wonder that former colleagues visited her in her final days, that her husband Nick remained by her side every step of the way (literally and figuratively) as her Parkinson’s worsened, and that her children Kristen '89 and Alex '90MS grew to be as gracious and accomplished in their own rite as their mother.

We relished Karen’s collegiality, compassion, and company. Annie Wright is a better place for Karen’s countless contributions to it. When I visited Karen and her family, Nick mentioned the family’s eagerness for Annie Wright to re-open [from the COVID-19 closure] so they could gather in the Chapel, to which I responded, “Oh, you’re planning to have a memorial at AWS?” He replied without words, but his facial expression most undeniably communicated, “Joy, where else?”


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Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403
253.272.2216

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Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower  and Middle Schools offer coed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for girls  and boys offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.