Karen Nadine MacClain (1963 - 2017)

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    - Melissa Shein
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Karen MacClain, RN, MSN died peacefully in Seattle, Wash., on Dec. 27, 2017. She was 54.
Karen is survived by her mother, Alma "Reggie" MacClain; son, Justin Tretikoff; brothers, William, John and Scott MacClain; sister, Laurae MacClain; and beloved nieces and nephews. Karen was preceded in death by her father, William MacClain.
Karen was born to Alma Regina Marchand and William Joseph MacClain on Sept. 24, 1963, in Spokane, Wash. She was of Scottish, Polish and American Indian descent; a proud member of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Lakes band in Washington. Karen graduated from North Central High School in Spokane and soon after relocated to Anchorage, Alaska, with her family where she followed in her mother's footsteps and became a nurse. In 1990, she achieved her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from University of Alaska Anchorage and began her nursing career as a staff nurse on the Alaska Native Medical Center Orthopedic Unit.
Karen was the consummate professional with the highest standards. She excelled in nursing and went on to serve in numerous leadership positions. While working full-time and raising Justin as a single parent, she returned to UAA to continue her education and achieved her Master of Science in Nursing in 2004.
After 19 years of federal service in the Indian Health Service (IHS), Karen transferred to the Alaska VA Healthcare System in 2010, where she worked to provide a safe, educational and supportive environment for veterans with complex needs. In addition to being a staunch patient advocate, Karen was a passionate nurse advocate, mentoring many nurses throughout her career. In 1997, she co-wrote a grant to support the establishment of the Recruitment and Retention of Alaska Natives into Nursing (RRANN) program at UAA. The federal grant was awarded and the RRANN program remains the primary activity today supporting the recruitment and mentorship of Alaska Native/American Indian students pursuing nursing degrees.
Karen was recognized numerous times for her accomplishments, including IHS Nurse Administrator of the Year, Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society Inductee, ANTHC Employee of the Year and IHS Chief Nurse Awardee. Karen's tireless work to improve the health status of the people she served will be her legacy to the Alaska Native and Alaska VA Healthcare Systems.
In addition to being an accomplished professional, Karen was a gracious host, excellent cook and held many wonderful and memorable social events for family and friends at her lovely home. She was stylish, sophisticated and confident in her behavior and appearance, and never without a smile, laughing easily and often. Career aside, Karen's proudest achievement was the life she built for her son, Justin. A loving and devoted mother, Karen sought out every opportunity to enhance his success by involving him in unlimited educational and recreational activities.
Karen enriched our lives and will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. In early January 2018, a traditional Catholic rosary and funeral service was held for Karen at the Omak Longhouse, Wash. She was laid to rest at the Pia Mission Cemetery next to her father; uncle; and great-grandfather, Chief Andre Aurapahkin.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018, at the Anchorage VA Clinic, 1201 North Muldoon Road, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Published in Anchorage Daily News from Jan. 21 to Jan. 23, 2018