A former military chaplain with more than 33 years of experience in ministry has been named director of chaplain services at Tyson Foods. 

Karen Diefendorf will lead and direct Tyson Foods’ chaplaincy program, which includes more than 90 chaplains who provide pastoral care, counseling and support to team members at many of the company’s plant and office locations. 

“Karen has an extensive background as a chaplain, and we’re pleased to have her lead our chaplains and reinforce our commitment to being faith-friendly,” said Rod Nagel, senior vice president of human resources at Tyson Foods.


Diefendorf most recently served as a chaplain at Hospice Care of South Carolina and as a part-time chaplain at Tyson Foods’ Columbia, S.C., facility. She has had a distinguished career as a chaplain in the U.S. Army, and served at the highest level at the Army Chief of Chaplains office. She has also held other positions in the Army, including Battalion Chaplain at Fort Benning, Ga., and Chief of the Training and Development Division at the US Army Chaplain Center and School. Diefendorf began her career in the ministry as a pastor at United Methodist Church in Elkhart, Ill., before attending the Chaplain Officer Basic Course in Fort Monmouth, N.J. 

Diefendorf earned her Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education from Lincoln Christian College in Lincoln, Ill. She earned her Master of Divinity from Lincoln Christian Seminary in Lincoln and her Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University.