Karen Elaine Kahklen (1955-2013)
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Former Juneau resident Karen Elaine Kahklen passed away May 29, 2013, at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage Alaska. She was born to the late Daniel and Priscilla "Sue" (Roberts) Kahklen on December 10, 1955, at St. Ann's Hospital in Juneau, Alaska. Karen was the seventh of eight children, and lived in Juneau (Douglas) most of her life. She moved to Texas with former husband Jim Fox after his retirement and became so acclimated to the warm Texas weather, she remained there.
Karen attended school in Juneau and earned her GED certificate after her second child was born. Karen's first job was as a GS-1 mail clerk with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Juneau. Her philosophy of starting at the bottom with the BIA was optimistic-she had nowhere else to go but up! She quickly advanced in this field; working for the State of Alaska as the Executive Secretary to the Director of Health and Social Services' Family and Youth Services; an Administrative Assistant in the Governor's Office during Governor Sheffield's administration, as a secretary in Corporate Communications, then as Executive Secretary to the President & CEO for Sealaska Corporation, Executive Secretary to the President of Huna Totem Corporation, and for Goldbelt Incorporated's subsidiary Goldbelt Cedar in Texas. Karen was known for her immaculate work habits and skills and her "can do" positive attitude and approach to work.
Karen was the very proud mother of three children: Bobbie, Romy Jr. and Jessica (known to all as Jessie). She loved her children dearly; spoke of them often, gloried in their achievements, and bragged about her grandchildren, Calista and Kiah. Karen was a warm and caring person, known for her infectious and easy laughter and her sense of humor. She was a loving and supportive person to the people she cared about in her life; and would give her last dime to a loved one in need. She opened her heart and home to all; loved to bake and cook for her family and friends, and her "mothering" instincts came out when someone dear to her was struggling. She would be there to help pick up the pieces and held up that person until they could stand again. She was fiercely loyal to her friends. Karen loved music and loved to dance; and was a voracious reader. She was very competitive when it came to games. She played a mean game of pool and pinochle, cribbage and scrabble. When she first learned to play pinochle, she ran the cards in a game of cut-throat. It wasn't until after the hand was over that her partners realized she had a double-run which she didn't lay down for the double-points advantage because she thought she had to have both 9s as well! She had the ability to laugh at herself, and she laughed heartily that day.
Karen met her husband, Shawn (Hooshang) Mastali in Texas in 2007; and they married on August 29, 2008; residing in Addison, Texas. Karen is survived by her husband Shawn, daughters Bobbie Lee Kahklen (husband Samuel Dauzat) of Kent, Washington, and Jessica Leslie Kahklen of Irving, Texas; and son Romy Yadao Jr. (partner Nicole Adair) of Juneau, Alaska; granddaughters Calista Kahklen and Kiah Yadao; step-daughters Layla Mastali Weaver, Veida Mastali Dima and Shayda Mastali; sisters Lillian (Rodney) Arnett, Suzanne (Tom) Christiansen, Dani (Grant) Soosuk of Anchorage; Janice Kahklen and Sylvia Johnson of Juneau; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews across Alaska and the Lower 48. Karen is also survived by her close friends of 44 years, Laurie Larson (and entire Larson family) and Donelle Everson (and entire Everson family) of Juneau, whom she dearly loved and treasured. She was preceded in death by her parents, and siblings Linda Morris, Terry, Delaney ("Butch"), Milton, Jerry Sr. and Daniel Kahklen Jr.
Karen was cremated and her wish was to have her ashes scattered at Fish Creek as were her parents. Her children will honor this wish privately.
When someone you love becomes a memory,
the memory becomes a treasure.
Karen's children invite family and friends to celebrate Karen's life in Juneau and invite everyone to attend a Celebration of Life from 3-5 PM on Sunday, June 23, 2013, at the Tlingit and Haida Community Council Building on Hospital Drive. They ask that you come to share a story or special memory of Karen. A reception will follow the memorial service.
Published in The Juneau Empire on June 19, 2013