Karen L. (Skinner) Close passed away peacefully Sunday, January 5, 2020, in Ely, Minnesota, with her children, Loren, Sheri, Jeff, son-in-law Keith, and her dogs Lizi and Benny by her side. Karen was born September 17, 1942, in Centralia, Washington, to Arena and Marion Skinner.
Karen graduated from Centralia High School in 1960. She loved to dance and act and took starring roles in A Diary of Anne Frank and The Madwoman of Chaillot. She had an amazing Christian faith which lead her to start a youth group for her friends at the Centralia First Christian Church. Upon graduating from high school, she attended Centralia College, where she took secretarial courses.
In 1962 Karen married Terrence E. “Terry” Close in Centralia, Washington. They moved to Yakima, Washington, where they lived for forty years.
Karen’s love for her family, horses, volunteering, and advocating for youth, created many opportunities for her to serve in the Yakima Valley. She was able to touch people’s lives and make a difference by being a volunteer for the following organizations: Washington State Open Horse Show, secretary; Stablemates 4-H Club, leader; Central Washington State Fair Horse Division, superintendent; Washington State Fairs Association, commissioner; East Valley District, School Board member and president; Washington State School Board Association, member; Terrace Heights Presbyterian Church Jr and Sr High Youth Group, leader; to name a few of her many contributions to her community. She was also known to rescue and foster a racehorse or two.
One of the things Karen was most proud of during her employment at the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Center was her part in bringing the Yakima Valley Trolleys to town in celebration of Yakima’s Bicentennial in 1976. Karen retired from Pacific Power and Light as an executive secretary. Besides keeping the guys in line, she was known for her fluency and speed in shorthand.
Karen “retired” with Terry to Tucson, Arizona, in 2002. He to his pool, she to her horses. She joined the Saguaro Saddle Club where she made many good friends, fostered horses, and learned the trails. She couldn’t sit still long and took a job with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, taking part in many telethons. She saw a need and was voted in as a member of the Tanque Verde School Board. Karen stayed active until she could no longer due to the challenges of dementia.
Karen’s door was always open. She made everyone feel welcome and gave freely to all those around her. She was an amazing mom, grandma, great grandma, cook, role model, servant leader, and was guided until the very end by her amazing faith.
Karen was preceded in death by her parents and her husband Terry. She is survived by her son Loren, daughter Sheri (Keith) Rue, son Jeff (Kelly); grandchildren Rick Close, Alex (Ben) Leichty, Zach (Jan) Rue, Jacob Rue, Declan DeYoung, McKenna DeYoung, Quinlan Close, and Lochlan Close; great-grandchildren Brennan Rue and Ella Rue; brother Ron (Marilyn) Skinner, nephew Daniel Skinner, and her Farm Kids.
Her Celebration of Life will take place the summer of 2021 when her family can once again gather.