It’s taken me a while to start writing this post, as I’ve been left rather speechless since my mother passed away on December 22. She had multiple health issues over the years, but this all happened too quickly and it seems I’m still stuck in the denial stage of grief. We were just talking a few weeks ago – I told her about the great Christmas tree we got from the farmers market and how I was sorry the Garrison Keillor show I was going to take her to at the Cedar had been cancelled. I read her the list of songs on the 2017 edition of the Kingsbury Christmas Sampler and was proud to show her the artwork that SK created for the cover (even though I don’t think she fully supported our move to Lowertown – “Are you sure you’re safe down there?”).
My mom loved to spoil us kids, much to the peril of her own financial stability. I remember her driving my brother and I out to LaBelle’s in Roseville when she knew they would get new shipments of Star Wars figures so both of us could fill our Darth Vader cases full of characters. Christmas was always way overdone, with huge piles of presents for each of us. We were an airline family and basically used those flight benefits to alternate between the two centers of the Disney universe – Florida and California – sometimes multiple times a year. And every summer included at least one week on the North Shore, usually in a cabin on Croftville Road.
When Colleen and I had kids, SK and MK were instantly showered with love and attention by the newly minted grandma. My mom played a huge part in the lives of my daughters and helped shape the wonderful people they have become. She happily served as babysitter and chauffeur for many years and attended countless band and choir concerts, swim meets and other school events. As they grew older and could drive themselves, both still liked getting together and having lunch with my mom on a regular basis at a number of their favorite spots around town.
It’s always tough to lose a family member, but it’s especially rough around the holidays. My mom’s dad also passed away in December four years ago, so this was really a double whammy. I’m glad that my mom didn’t have to suffer, though, and that most of our family was able to be with her at the end. I’d like to thank the ICU staff at Fairview Southdale hospital for their expert care and to Dr. Gary Knudsen, who was her primary care physician for as long as I can remember. Thanks also to everyone who has expressed their condolences and reached out to our family in this time of grief. But most of all, I want to thank my mom, one of the kindest, most caring people I’ve ever known.
Love you, mom. ❤️
Obituary from Mueller-Bies and photo gallery after the jump.
September 1, 1944 – December 22, 2017
Age 73 of St. Paul, died peacefully after heart failure December 22, 2017 surrounded by her loving family.
Her soul was generous, overflowing with love and putting all others before herself. Beloved grandma, mom, wife, sister and aunt, Karen loved the North Shore of Lake Superior, reading, quilting, Disney, Hallmark cards and above all spending time with her family. She retained her sharp humor and wit, a progressive thinker.
Preceded in death by parents, Helen and Donald Smith.
Survived by husband, Michael; sons, David (Colleen) and Brian (Patti); daughter Lynn; brothers, Greg, and Jeff (Joyce); sisters, Stacey (Dick) Kohner, and Linda (David) Arcand; granddaughters, Sasha and Marisa; niece, Laura (Aaron) Moser (sons Wyatt and Ethan); and nephews, Thomas (Jean) Smith (children Arianna and Galen) and Peter Smith.
Karen attended St. Paul Central High School, Macalester College and Winona State University, studying geology. She retired from Northwest Airlines after a long career in reservations. Her family thanks Dr. Knudsen for many years of excellent care.
A visitation will held from 4 – 8 PM Thursday, December 28 at MUELLER-BIES FUNERAL HOME – ROSEVILLE, 2130 N. Dale St. @ County Rd B.
In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to American Heart Association.