Karen Marie Allen passed away quietly surrounded by multiple generations of her family on October 11, at her daughter’s home in Orlando, Florida, having lived successfully with severe COPD for over a decade. Her family mourns her loss but celebrate the life that she lived.
Karen was born in Iowa City, Iowa on March 2, 1941 to Howard and Ellen Laux. She was the middle of nine children and grew up on farms throughout southeastern Iowa. She graduated from Richland High School (class of 1958) were she was a basketball player of considerable note. She was famous in her family for scoring 63 points in a single game. It was in Richland that she first met Fred who would become her husband on November 15,1958 in Washington, Iowa.
Karen gave birth to her first child, a girl named Sheila, on November 27, 1959, a day after her mother Ellen’s birthday. In what some would call a coincidence (others suspected pandering) she added to the family a boy, Eric, on November 26,1960, on her mothers birthday. She shoots, she scores! Brenda was added to the family 22 months later and Sandra was welcomed in 1967.
The family settled in Coralville and later Iowa City. Karen spent the 1970s raising her rather spirited children. She was an avid gardener, growing a spectacular crop of vegetables each year. She also busied herself with a collection of friends who also lived on 19th Ave in Coralville. Karen participated in many intramural sports leagues including basketball, volleyball and bowling.
In 1979 Karen and Fred moved to Sebring, Florida to enter into business with Karen’s brother Bill Laux. It was there that Karen’s organizational skills were on full display. She ran the office of Taylor Rental with precise focus. She later led the effort to fully computerize the company, quite a feat considering she had no experience what so ever with technology. As grandchildren began to arrive it led Karen and Fred to retire to Orlando in 1996. They later added a home in Cedar Rapids to be near family in Iowa.
Karen was truly a matriarch. She adored her family of origin, her many siblings and their families. Fred was her heart, her children her crown, her grandchildren the jewels upon that crown and her brand new great-grandson the sparkle in those jewels. She never spoke of family values because she lived them with each beat of her heart. We will cherish the holiday festivities, the family milestone celebrations, the spectacular food, the laughter, and the fellowship. Memories of Karen’s generous heart and her smile as broad as the horizon will not be forgotten by those who survive her.
Karen was preceded in death by her mother and father, and by her brothers Phillip Laux and John Laux, her daughter Sheila (Tork Harman) and son in law Wayne Finley (Eric). She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Fred, her son Eric, her daughters Brenda (John Dresseen), and Sandra (Dan Justin), her grandchildren Sydney (Thomas Krupski), Bond Harman, Kyle Dresseen, Megan Worell (Chad), Tory Harman, Kate Justin, Sam Justin and her great-grandson Noah Krupski. She is also survived by her brothers William Laux and Douglas Laux (Bonnie), and sisters Deanna Laux, Mary Hughes, Barbara Sondag (George) and Debra Powell (Bill).
There will be a private celebration of Karen’s life in November. In lieu of flowers the family asks that you would consider making a donation to Gems of Hope of Cedar Rapids, an organization founded by Karen’s daughter Sheila that shares hope with cancer patients and their families.