Karen Rae Trimmer, MD

Class Year




Posted on: August 30, 2017

Karen Rae Trimmer, MD, was born on March 7, 1953, in Norfolk, Va., of Bill and Millie Trimmer. She passed away on September 3, 2016.

Karen was a southern girl through and through and followed a long line of Trimmers who emigrated from England in 1635. The Trimmers originally settled in King William County, a part of the Virginia Commonwealth. Karen was a distant relative of Sam Houston.

She grew up in Richmond, Va., and attended the College of William and Mary, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BS in Chemistry. Karen went on to graduate from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1979. She completed her residency training in anesthesiology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. Karen was board certified and practiced medicine and anesthesiology in Newport News, Va., and Seattle, Wash.

Karen loved all animals large and small. She was the “animal whisperer.” It always seemed that the animals came up to Karen and immediately loved her. When she traveled and wanted to see a specific animal, all you needed to do was stay by Karen because they would always miraculously appear.

Karen was an extraordinary horseman. She owned horses for 45 years and brought her childhood horse to medical school in Charlottesville to ride in her spare time. After Karen was settled in her practice in Virginia, Karen met her husband, Brian Rubens, and it was “love me, love my horse.” Karen and Brian were married nearly 25 years ago in 1992 and Karen moved her palomino quarter horse, Sugar, out to Seattle. Karen loved to ride on trails all over the country and lobbied to buy a home in Arizona where she could ride “open range.” Karen enjoyed riding in Arizona for 10 years and rode her horses throughout her battle with cancer. Karen competed at the national level in Team Penning and Ranch Sorting cattle. She won 5th place in Ranch Sorting at the American Quarter Horse Association World Select Championships in 2013 and won 2nd in the same show for highest points for a first time intermediate rider. Karen won six belt buckles that were bigger than her!

Karen loved dogs. Over 25 years, Karen’s beloved Australian Shepherds, Apache, Ranger, Mickey, Scout, and Dixie were her “children.” Karen’s Havanese “child,” Cookie, stayed with Karen faithfully until the very end.

Karen embraced everything she did with zeal. She was a brilliant pianist, and a piano was the very first piece of furniture Karen wanted for her Arizona home. She was also a “Master Diver” with over 400 dives all over the world. Karen learned to target shoot in Arizona and became a skilled marksman. In addition, she was learning photography as she traveled above the Arctic Circle to shoot photographs of northern lights, Alaska to photograph Grizzly bears, and Africa to see and photograph the wonderful indigenous wildlife, a highlight of her life.

Karen was a brilliant thinker, a whiz at math, a skilled businesswoman, and provided insight and advice to help with Brian’s oral and maxillofacial surgery practice for 25 years. She introduced many innovative anesthesia techniques to the practice and provided her special outpatient anesthesia skills. Karen’s thoughtful approach to life and pragmatic counsel will be missed.

Karen is survived by her beloved husband, Brian Rubens, her stepson and daughter-in-law, Adam and Briana Rubens, her mother, Mildred Trimmer, and younger brother, Bill Trimmer. Karen made a mark in the world and will be missed terribly. To honor Karen, please make donations in her name to a horse or animal rescue charity.