Bates [Kress], Karen

I was definitely a grill rat – very fond memories of playing bridge for hours every day starting at breakfast (my usual donut and coke – ugh) – almost flunking out my freshman year.  I also have wonderful memories of professors that I had such as Drs. Ross and Madtes who were great teachers in their field as well as excellent role models and mentors.  Of course, there are some professors I would prefer to forget…

Education after Allegheny

I stayed in Meadville for ten years after I graduated.  I was very fortunate that I was able to take two of Dr. Ross’ graduate courses.  Eventually, I received my Masters in English History from Edinboro University (PA).


I married Joe Raible (Allegheny ‘68) shortly after I graduated and we divorced in the late 70s.  I married Ken Kress in 1984 recently celebrating our 32nd anniversary.  Ken is a physicist who received his PhD at Montana State University – hence the Montana connection noted below.  He worked for the federal government in the intelligence and defense world, consulted for years after retiring from the government.  

Where you’ve lived

I lived in Meadville until 1977 when Joe and I moved to northern Virginia just outside Washington, DC.  Over the course of 33 years, I lived in Falls Church and then Arlington.  Ken and I moved full time to Montana in 2010.  We bought property north of Yellowstone National Park in 1989 and built a house in the early 2000s.

My jobs

My first job was as a proofreader at the Meadville Tribune.  I also substitute taught in Crawford County Schools for a few years (not a lot of jobs in Meadville at that time!).  When I moved to VA, I knew that I wanted to work for a nonprofit either in the environmental or population field.  I was fortunate to get a job at the very young Nature Conservancy as a research assistant on their first capital campaign.  For 39  years, I have had the distinct pleasure of getting paid to work on my passion – the conservation of natural and cultural resources.  I worked in senior management positions at National Parks Conservation Association, American Farmland Trust, The Nature Conservancy (my second stint there), National Wildlife Federation, Yellowstone Park Foundation – almost always as the only woman in senior management – lots of stories to tell there!  I also had my own consulting business for 13 years (in between working at the various organizations) working from my home so I could help care for elderly parents.  During that time, I had over 40 clients all in the field of environmental and land conservation.

My children / grandchildren

Joe and I have a wonderful daughter, Elizabeth.  She has her Masters in Social Work and is a parole/probation officer in Washington, DC. (certainly not a job that I could do!).  Ken and I met through our daughters who were best friends in grade school.  Ken’s daughter, Kiersten, is recently married and lives in Bozeman, MT not far from us.  We have no grandchildren.


Well…I thought I was retiring in 2010; however, a wonderful position opened up as President of the Yellowstone Park Foundation, the official fundraising partner of Yellowstone National Park (my favorite place in the world – how could I refuse this?).  We also have a home 20 miles north of the Park and four miles up a forest service access road – remote and beautiful.  I took the job – helping to rebuild the organization and overseeing a merger with the Yellowstone Association.  When I finally did retire, June 4th of this year, Ken and I left on a two month trip in our RV (I blogged it at  Ken has been retired for a few years.  Our plans are eight months in Montana and four months in SE Florida.  

Current activities / hobbies

We love to fish (Ken likes to hunt – I eat the meat), golf, travel, cook (Ken has been a Julia Child aficionado for fifty years).  I am volunteering – sitting on the Council of Trustees of Montana Land Reliance and the boards of Student Conservation Association and National Parks and Recreation Association.  Ken volunteers for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.  I just returned from a great trip to Germany and Poland with my daughter.  Ken and I are planning five weeks in New Zealand and Australia next spring.

My contact Info

Address:  366 Rock Creek Road S Emigrant, MT 59027
Phone:  571-334-5091



One Comment on “Bates [Kress], Karen

Cyndee Ball Socci
Cyndee Ball Socci
05/02/2017 at 3:25 pm

Karen, of am so looking forward to seeing you in June, after years of conversatins with Ms. Hathaway about your work and life out west. So sorry Karen can’t make this weekend becuase her niece is graduating on Long Island, but I will get to see her while she’s up here. I’m just putting together my bio – see you soon!

Cheers, Cyndee


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