Karen was a born competitor. Against herself in Bejeweled Blitz or a crossword puzzle – she liked to hone her skills. She challenged friends to Yahtzee or Scrabble while her first husband William (Bill) Everton was at sea with the Coast Guard. She played in bowling leagues and softball leagues until her knees couldn’t take it. And she introduced her children and grandchildren to bowling – helping to mentor a new generation. Then she discovered golf and Gerald LaFollette. At home and in the Lower 48 Karen and Jerry could be found on the course. They traveled regularly to the golf tournament in Arizona, and checked out golf courses everywhere they went.
Whether she was working as a lifeguard in Connecticut, waterskiing in North Carolina, canoeing in Virginia, playing softball in Florida, snowshoeing in Valdez or fishing in Ketchikan Karen was happy to be out in the elements and exploring the United States. During her marriage to Bill she made it to all but 4 states with their two children. Her marriage to Jerry gave her the opportunity to continue exploring during the second half of her life. Together they enjoyed playing and volunteering with the Sno-Bruins, as well as visiting friends around the U.S.
The soul of Karen was creativity and it was expressed through her homes, quilts and the special clothes she made. Every home she lived in had special touches from fresh paint to wallpaper to complete renovation. She loved to makeover a house she moved into so that it was a home. She always had one or more projects underway, tirelessly looking for antiques – which she called an-tee-ques – in her younger years, or watching HGTV for ideas more recently. The quilts and clothes sprang from her love of working with fabric. The quilts and clothes sprung from her love of working with fabric. She’d discovered in high school the joy of making clothing of her own and never stopped. She even realized her dream of owning a fabric store when she opened The Stitchery. Prom dresses, a spectacular pair of pants for the Pillar mountain golf classic, the “Grammy dresses”, vests for the boys, quilts for everyone she could manage, new upholstery on favorite furniture and so much more sprung from her fertile hands and mind.
But most importantly, Karen loved to laugh and it was infectious. She was a storyteller who enjoyed a glass of wine and both joining in with and causing honest joyful laughter. She is already missed. Services will be at 2pm Saturday May 17th at St.Paul Lutheran church on Rezanof Drive followed by a potluck and memorial in Springhill Hall. Please bring a dish and a story to share.
Karen is survived by her husband Gerald LaFollette; brother Bruce Nielson and his partner Judi Anderson; sister and brother-in-law Diane and Art Bordage; daughter and son-in-law Tamie Everton and Fred Fogle and children Ariana and Caitlin; son and daughter-in-law Brian and Karena Everton and children Ashton, Skylar and Fallon; stepson and daughter-in-law Jerry and Kyla LaFollette and children Josh and Jerod; granddaughter and spouse Taylor and Tyler Southworth; granddaughter Brittany Everton and fiancé Jake Keplinger; and extended family Craig and Bonnie Stratman and children Austin and Morgan. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations in Karen's name be given to Hospice of Kodiak. P.O. Box 8682 Kodiak, AK, 99615. We thank them for their excellent care and assistance.