Karen Sue (Dolan) Johnson died Sept. 17, 2020, in her snowbird home, La Quinta, Calif., attended by her loving family.

She was born June 24, 1940, in Provo, Utah, to Iowa natives Victor and Irene (Dougherty) Dolan.  The family, including older brother Patrick, settled in Salina, Kan., where Karen attended Sacred Heart Grade School, graduating from Sacred Heart High School in 1958.  

Her parents and Patrick preceded her in death. Survivors include daughter Holly Johnson, La Quinta, Calif.; granddaughters Megan (and Jake) Van Geffen, Raleigh, S.C., and Riley Huebner, San Luis Obispo, Calif.; and son, Greg, and his wife, Lisa  Johnson, and Charlie, Carl, Phillip and Garrett of Manchester, Mich. Karen is also survived by her sisters,  Janelle Downs, Paola, Kan., and Vicki Jacobson, Manhattan, Kan., and sister-in-law, Bobbie Lamone Dolan, Palm Spring, Calif.

After high school, she was a secretary at International Milling in Salina, then moved to Denver where she worked for KBTV. She married Don W. Johnson in 1963 in Salina. Eventually they settled in rural Solano County, Calif., creating successful vineyards on former orchard acreage. 

Karen lovingly shared her skills by making delicious jellies and pies, beautiful cross-stitch, crochet and needlepoint creations, hand-sewn teddy bears and Christmas stockings. 

After a divorce, she relocated to Ketchum, then Hailey. As a member of Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, Ketchum, she enjoyed making scones and nut bread for the hospitality after mass. She held a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and silently prayed the rosary as she voluntarily sat with hospice patients.

She considered Idaho her home and appreciated the natural beauty and community of the Wood River Valley, an appreciation that perpetuates in her children and grandchildren. Christmas Eve ice shows, sleigh rides, drives looking for elk herds, shopping at the Gold Mine and attending the Sun Valley Jazz & Music Festival are beloved memories that will live on. She happily served as prom dress shopper and hairdresser for each loving granddaughter. “Gram” was an unrivaled friend who will be greatly missed.  

Karen enjoyed traveling, and treasured trips back to Kansas and Iowa, visiting friends, cousins, nieces and nephews.  

Her determined fight against cancer served her well, as her loved ones gained 15 precious years with her. May Karen’s Irish sense of humor linger forever in the lives of her family, and help carry us past the sad times to cherished memories.    

A rosary vigil service will be Wednesday, Nov. 11, at 3 p.m. at Our Lady of the Snows, Ketchum. Visitation will follow. The funeral mass is Thursday, Nov. 12, at 1 p.m. at the church, with the Rev. Justin Brady as celebrant. Interment will follow in the Ketchum Cemetery, under the care of Wood River Chapel.    

Memorials may be directed to the hospice facility of donor’s choice, or to S.T.P.A.T.S., a preservation society, 420 E. Patrick St., Dougherty IA 50433. Please visit woodriverchapel.com to share a condolence, story or photo with Karen’s family.