Karen Diefendorf

Chaplain Karen J. Diefendorf was born and raised in Vallonia, a small rural town in southern Indiana. Desiring to remain within her own “denomination,” the independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, she sought endorsement for Army chaplaincy which was granted in 1985 and entered active duty in 1986. Diefendorf served 20 years as an active duty Army chaplain, assigned to various commands all over the world including the Pentagon where she worked on the Constitutionality of the Chaplaincy. Chaplain Diefendorf also contributed to the revision of the Army’s Field Manual on Leadership as it related to belief systems. She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel to answer her church’s call to become the Academic Dean at Lincoln Christian University’s Undergraduate College, Lincoln, IL. Over three years later she was recalled to active duty on special assignment, serving as Director of Training and Development, US Army Chaplain Center and School for an additional four years, totaling 24 years of active service. Chaplain Diefendorf received multiple military awards to include two awards of the Legion of Merit and Instructor of the Year at the Army Chaplain Center and School. She was also the first female chaplain to become a paratrooper. Following return to retired Army life, Karen accepted a chaplain position with Hospice Care of South Carolina and later added a part-time chaplain position with Tyson Prepared Foods plant, Columbia, SC. That introduced her to the breadth of Tyson’s chaplain program where she currently serves as Director, Chaplain Services for Tyson Foods, Inc., in Springdale, Arkansas.


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