July 16, 1940 - December 25, 2023
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Karen Lee Bowen, who died in the early hours of Christmas Day, 2023 in the presence of her family. Karen had been diagnosed just a few weeks earlier with an extremely rare and aggressive form of leukemia but was able to spend her final days surrounded by friends and family in her home overlooking Hood Canal.
Born July 16th, 1940 in Puyallup to Arthur and Irma (Parrott) Wolf, Karen is survived by her husband of 61 years, George Bowen, daughter Cynthia Bowen-Angevine (Kevin Angevine) of Shelton, daughter Allison (Brian) McCrady of Vancouver, WA, granddaughters Sarah (Daniel) Gross of Weingarten, Germany, Ellen (Jesse) Larson of Yakima, and Rachel (Spencer) Best of Prosper, Texas, as well as five great-grandsons and one great-granddaughter. She also leaves her sister Lucille (Kyle) Case of Selah, brother Pete (Diana) Wolf of Napavine, and numerous other extended family members. Her presence in our lives as sister, wife, mother, and Grammie will be greatly missed, but we rejoice in knowing that we will someday be reunited in heaven.
Karen lived an incredibly full and interesting life and in all her endeavors was known as a caring person who gave of herself in service to those around her. A life-long learner, Karen graduated from Centralia High School '58, Centralia College '60, Washington State University '62, and Antioch University '92. She tirelessly supported the diverse educational journeys of her children and grandchildren and impacted numerous community members' lives as a literacy tutor and Olympic College instructor. She honed her skills as a writer with the camaraderie of the Hood Canal Writers Group, and the family plans to fulfill her dream of organizing an anthology of the many stories she wrote about her life experiences.
Together, Karen and George were explorers, beginning with the multiple moves they made in George's early years as a National Park Ranger. In one of her stories she describes in poignant detail the "ten banana boxes" full of the family's possessions that were packed and unpacked at Devil's Tower, Death Valley, Cabrillo, Grand Canyon, Channel Islands, and Sequoia until finally coming to rest at Olympic National Park in 1972. From their base-camp in Hoodsport, Karen and George backpacked hundreds of miles in the Olympic Mountains, canoed numerous lakes and rivers, made countless cross-country trips in their Roadtrek camper van, and searched out unique ways to use their time-share weeks all around the United States, Asia, and Europe. Karen loved to swim wherever she went, her favorite spots being Lake Cushman, Hood Canal, and the YMCA in Shelton.
Karen was known above all as someone who lived out her faith in God in practical ways, always seeking to widen the circle and provide a sense of belonging to those she met. She was a charter member of Shelton Presbyterian Church where she served as a deacon, choir member, and friend and mentor to many. From home-cooked meals (including her infamous tater tot casserole) for the seasonal employees who worked with George, to summer deck parties for their family, friends, and neighbors, to holiday gatherings, camp-outs, and family reunions, Karen was always thinking about how to make things special for all those she knew and loved.
A memorial service is planned at Shelton Presbyterian Church on Saturday, January 20, 2024 at 2:00 pm, and will be live-streamed on the church website for those unable to attend in person.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Shelton Presbyterian Church Building Fund or a charity of your choice.