Karen Creason
1943 - 2020
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Karen Creason
Dec. 22, 1943 - Oct. 20, 2020
Karen Creason passed away in Sequim, Wash., Oct. 20, 2020, at the age of 76 after a seven year battle with Alzheimer's Disease. While very sad at her passing, we are, as her friend Peter put it, glad "she is released from being someone she never was." Alzheimer's is a most cruel and unjust master. She outlived her husband Gerald "Jerry" Creason by almost a year. She is survived by her daughter, Colleen Bittner; grandson, Kyle Bittner; and her siblings, Wayne Harms and Patricia Lewis.
Karen was not just smart but BRILLIANT. She grew up humbly in the Midwest and was told she could aspire to be a secretary one day. But Karen always took the road less traveled. She went to Loma Linda to study Medical Records management. She was one of only four non-Seventh Day Adventists at the school. She made three lifelong friends there. She then took a job at the Oregon Health Sciences Hospital as director of Medical Records. But her sights were higher. She wanted to become an attorney. She went to night law school at Lewis & Clark in Portland while working a full time at OHSU. She graduated summa cum laude. She became an attorney when only a handful of women were litigators. As a sign of the times, she was sent home her first day in court for wearing a pant suit and told to return wearing a dress. At Stoel Rives LLP, she became the managing partner for Health law. There she mentored numerous women over the years and broke down many barriers for all. She was a highly respected attorney in the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years.
She had an amazing intellect, always three steps ahead of the rest of us. Yet she could interact as easily with a judge as any blue-collar worker, drawing from her humble beginnings. She read 800 page James Michener books in two nights and loved discussing the quantum universe with her equally nerdy grandson. Karen loved to entertain. She organized block parties and unforgettable firm parties. Christmas and Thanksgiving were always raucous affairs with "orphaned" friends always welcome and in attendance. She and Jerry loved to travel and experience other cultures. She would research and practically write her own tour book before each trip. Life was always about learning for her.
Karen was ever the philanthropist, supporting the Arts throughout Portland, working with Death with Dignity and PEO, and serving on many non-profit boards such as the Johnson Foundation, and Lil Lifesavers. She was well known for "being there" for any friend in need with a helping hand, whether it was being a Chemo Buddy, making food if you were sick, or helping you with your legal woes. Our family greatly appreciated all the friends that reciprocated this kindness in her later years. Especially her friends in retirement that formed a group called the Wonderful Wacky Women. She treasured all of these relationships.
Her devotion to family was as fierce as her business acumen. She was a terrific mother, daughter, sister, aunt, wife and grandma. She encouraged all of us, down to the grandnieces and nephews, to be our best and pursue whatever made us happy. She was always there with financial and emotional support when needed.
The world will sorely miss Karen Creason.
At her request and per COVID restrictions there will be no memorial.
We request that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to Compassion and Choices (her favorite right to die organization), or to the Alzheimer's Association.
Please sign the online guest book at www.oregonlive.com/obits

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Oregonian from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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3 entries
November 19, 2020
Nancy, and I, Anita and Sandy Hammett, were sorry to hear of Karen's (and her husband Jerry's) passing. We have such fond memories of our interactions together when they lived across the street from us in SE Portland. And Nancy will always remember when she babysat Colleen in the early 70s.
Doug and Nancy Hammett
Neighbor
October 26, 2020
I worked for Karen as a legal secretary/assistant during the late 1980’s and early 1990s. Karen was a true friend and mentor. Throughout my career, I used the skills and knowledge I gained working for Karen. I also considered Karen a role model; I aspire to model her hard work, perseverance, integrity, compassion and giving back to the community.

Not only was Karen brilliant, but she was caring, very giving of herself, passionate and full of life. Karen also had an amazing sense of humor and loved practical jokes.
I will never forget the stories she shared about her early days as an attorney (at a time when women weren’t expected, and rarely encouraged, to work outside the home!); or the time she opened a bottle of champagne for her and I to share a toast in her office at work after we had finished working on a large client project.

After Karen and Jerry moved to Vancouver (about 4 miles from where me and my husband live), we continued our friendship, and enjoyed many gatherings with friends, sharing wonderfully prepared meals. (Karen was also an excellent cook!) My husband and I enjoyed hearing about Karen and Jerry’s travels, and enjoyed many interesting and lively discussions. Karen and Jerry made a big impact on the lives of anyone who knew them.

Diane Kimmel
Friend
October 23, 2020
Karen was an amazing attorney and wonderful person. I was so blessed in my job to have her as our attorney for the professional review program. Over the years we became friends and I always enjoyed our visits whether in the phone or in person. Life changed and we list touch due to my health and hers but I will always remember her as a light and joy to have had the opportunity to meet and know. My prayers for the family and sympathy in your loss.
Beryl Fletcher
Friend
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