Rochester Hills woman killed by hippopotamus on African safari

Carol Kirken, 75, killed by hippo

By Rod Meloni - Reporter, CFP ® , Derick Hutchinson

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. - Family and friends are remembering a Rochester Hills woman after she was killed by a hippopotamus on an African safari.

Friends of Carol Sue Kirken said she went to the Rochester Hills YMCA every day because she was a member of the board of directors. She was the kind of person who liked to be involved, and the community is feeling a deep loss after her death.

The 75-year-old is described as a "bundle of energy" that lit up the room when she walked in. A registered nurse, she was a doctor recruiter for Crittenton Hospital. She helped found the Women's Fund of Rochester Hills, and she and her friends gave away thousands to help women and children in difficult situations improve their lives.

She also worked to help military families in need.

Rochester Hills Mayor Brian Barnett spoke with Local 4 over the phone about Kirken.

"Carol was a passionate leader, and she dedicated herself to causes to help those who were less fortunate," Barnett said.

Kirken liked to travel, and she posted many pictures of the places she's been on her Facebook page. She went to Tanzania on an African safari with her son -- a university dean from Corpus Christi Texas.

Last Saturday, while the two were watching hippos, something happened, and her family said she died in her son's arms after an accident.

There are few details of what exactly happened, but hippos are known as among the most dangerous land animals on earth.

"She was always there to lend a helping hand to others, and I think the community is recognizing what a special lady we've lost," Barnett said.

Kirken most recently served as national vice president for the Arbonne Cosmetics Company. The company told Local 4 it is deeply saddened at her death and offered its condolences and prayers to her family.

The family is planning a funeral for Aug. 20 in Rochester Hills.

Click here to view Kirken's obituary.

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