Karen Louise DeBoer Dixon
November 13, 1943 - January 3, 2021
Tacoma, Washington -
Karen was born in Ketchikan, Alaska, to parents Peter DeBoer and Eileen Dorothy Sande DeBoer.
Karen developed a love for music as a toddler, staying up late listening to her dad play the piano. She'd sneak down after bedtime when her mom wasn't looking, to sit against the piano; her dad would wink and continue playing. Her grandfather, Ed Sande, would also come by to sing, so it was only natural that Karen learned to play the piano and sing herself.
She wrote, "My childhood in Alaska was wonderful, blueberry and red huckleberry picking, learning to play alone, in the rain, not afraid of venturing into the woods behind our house, or roaming the town like all the other kids did in those days."
After graduating from Ballard High School in Seattle she moved to Juneau and continued to pursue music, quickly becoming well known to the local music scene, performing in local music venues and appearing on live radio and TV broadcasts throughout Southeast Alaska.
She met and performed with fellow musician Russell Craig Dixon, whom she would marry and have two sons; Erik in 1969, and Leif in 1974, both born in Juneau.
Karen took the two boys and moved to Utah in 1975, where she studied at BYU. They later moved to Coupeville, WA, and then to Ferndale, WA, where Erik and Leif graduated from high school.
Known as "Hot Lava Mama" to her boys, Karen loved to take her sons camping, fishing, and exploring the backroads of the Pacific Northwest.
Karen was a certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and a licensed therapist in Washington. She worked for many years as a counselor and loved helping her clients overcome fears and limitations.
Karen moved to Lakewood, WA, in 2005 to live with Erik and his wife Monica, helping raise three grandchildren whom she loved dearly. Karen loved to garden, an interest she shared with Erik.
Karen was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and remained a passionate and firm believer throughout her life. Karen taught early morning seminary to high school students in Ferndale who lovingly called her "Mama D." Karen continued her passion for music and frequently directed church choirs for many years, often original pieces of music she had composed. Karen was also an avid genealogist and spent countless hours researching her family history, taking pride in her Scandinavian heritage.
She believed strongly in the gospel of Jesus Christ and that her death would merely be a transition to the afterlife where she could be reunited with her ancestors. Karen passed away on the morning of January 3rd at St Joseph's Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. She is preceded in death by her parents, her sister Juleen Mehus of Wilsonville, Oregon, and her brother John DeBoer of Petersburg, Alaska. She is survived by her sons, Erik and Leif; Erik's wife, Monica; and their daughters, Korenna Claire, Rowan Poppy, and Stella Maren.
A memorial service will be held at the Lakewood chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on January 16th at 11 am, PST.
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Jan. 13, 2021.