In Memoriam: Karlen Wannop


The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution announces with great sorrow the death of retiree Karlen Wannop at the McCarthy Care Center in East Sandwich, Mass., on April 23.  She was 61.

Karlen spent her early years moving with the seasons between the Wianno Club, Wianno, Mass., and The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL, where her family worked.  When Karlen began school, the family moved to Lake Placid, NY, where she attended St. Agnes School and St. Pius X High School.  During her junior year of high school, her father retired and the family moved to the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.  She graduated from Pocono Central Catholic High School in 1971.  She graduated from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1976, earning Associate degrees in Oceanographic Technology and Environmental Technology.

Karlen worked in the Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering Department at WHOI for 36 years, starting as a lab assistant and working her way up to senior engineering assistant. Karlen was the first woman hired specifically as an electronics technician at WHOI and worked on many projects as the need arose.  Some of the projects included work on robotic vehicles such as Jason Jr., Jason, ABE, REMUS, Nereus, and Nereid Under Ice, as well as on the human occupied vehicle Alvin. Karlen was the lead author on the WHOI Technical Report titled The Development of BASS: Benthic Acoustic Stress Sensor 1979 – 1984.  She also served on the WHOI Women’s Committee from 2002-2004 and the Graded & Marine Personnel Committee from 1998-1999 and 2009-2011. She retired from WHOI in 2014.

Karlen was very active in her church, St. Anthony’s in East Falmouth, serving as a communicant, a lector, Eucharistic minister, and member of the choir for a number of years.  She was a member of the Council of Catholic Women in the parish and served terms on the District and Diocesan levels. In her spare time, Karlen enjoyed needlecraft, photography, camping.

Karlen was preceded in death by her parents Henry Ward Wannop and Florence E. (Hughes) Wannop and is survived by many cousins.

There will be a period of visitation at Chapman, Cole, & Gleason Funeral Home, 475 Main Street, Falmouth from 10:30–11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 9th, followed by a noon Mass at St. Anthony’s Church, 167 East Falmouth Hwy, East Falmouth.  Burial will follow in St. Anthony’s Cemetery.  A celebration of Karlen’s life will follow in the Basement Hall of St. Anthony’s Church.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the charity of your choice.

(Some of the information for this obituary is from the Chapman Cole & Gleason Web site)



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