Karen Ann Graning Gardner
She touched everything that was good in our lives....In loving memory of Karen Ann Gardner
Karen was born to Harald and Thelma Graning on October 25, 1942 in San Francisco, California. The middle child of a Navy Public Service Officer, Karen spent her formative years bouncing between East coast and West, then post high school, she attended Cornell University and graduated with honors. At college, she met Robert Lee Gardner, the love of her life. They married on August 29, 1964 in Long Island, New York. Immediately following the ceremony, they packed everything they owned in 'Eidel Trout' (their White VW Bug), and drove off into the sunset, finally landing in San Francisco. After a short honeymoon, Karen went to work as a statistician while Bob attended Law School. Once blessed with children, Bob took over the finances, while Karen stayed home - first in San Francisco, then off to the burbs in Palo Alto - where she did "everything else." To say she was a "homemaker" would be an understatement of epic proportions. Whether in the kitchen, in the church choir, or organizing the PTA rummage sale, Karen's presence was felt everywhere... but nothing was ever more important than raising her children: Mark, Laura, Rob, and John, because God, Family and Friends were everything to her.
In 1985, Bob and Karen moved north, to Tigard, Oregon, and finished raising their kids. Over many happy years, college, weddings and eleven grandchildren followed. Once child-free, Karen returned to serving outside her home, first as the recreation director at King City Residential Center, then as the beloved director of the Tigard Senior Center, where she served for 17 years, until she retired.
Even in retirement, Karen remained busy. She enjoyed spending quality time with family, friends, and especially her grandchildren. Whether it was a music program or a soccer game, Karen always showed up, cheering and congratulating. A servant at heart, Karen believed in putting others first. Whether friend or stranger, she found a way to ease a burden, welcome a child, feed the hungry, or lighten a load. Inclusivity was her watchword. She knew that everyone was a good and worthy child of God, and she treated them as such. She was an active member of the Tigard Methodist church, serving there in any capacity that was needed. She volunteered her services to the nearby grade school, either working in the library or teaching a knitting class to students. She continued to volunteer her services to the Meals on Wheels program. She loved being part of numerous clubs, including the Bridge Club, Garden Club, and Knitting Club. When she could, she would travel to her beach house, usually bringing a friend, where she would seek respite and relaxation from everyday life.
All too soon, on July 6, 2019, at age 76, after a heart wrenchingly short illness, Karen Ann Graning Gardner went to be with Jesus and her loved ones. There are no words for how much she will be missed.
Thank you for all your beautiful prayers, your lovely cards and gorgeous flowers. She sees them, and is smiling. Although gone from our presence, her legacy lives on in each of us.
Survived by her four children, Mark Gardner (Yolanda) and children Ruby, Johnny, Christian and Angel; Laura Hering (Kris) and sons Kyle, Micah and Luke; and Robert Gardner and sons Sloan and Gavin; and John (Denise) and children Grant and Poppy. Brothers Aaron (Rachel) and George (Mary Anne); and many extended family members.
We would love to have you join us for a celebration of her life, Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 2 pm at The Tigard United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, please consider giving a donation to Tigard Loaves & Fishes, The American Cancer Society or The Arthritis Foundation.