Karen Lorraine Chandler
Karen Lorraine (Oberst Huettl Bailey Peake) Chandler was born on a Tuesday, August 16, 1938, in Corvallis, Oregon.
Her early years were lived on the Siletz with her high-spirited mother, Ida Nancy Chandler Oberst and her hard-working father, Carl William Oberst Sr. and six siblings.
She had fond memories of the reservation coastal land and loved to tell stories of the first nation people who lived there. She spent the majority of her childhood in the high desert of Bend, Oregon among the sagebrush and juniper with her beloved horse Dixie (named after her favorite western book "Beyond Rope and Fence.")
She eloped to Reno, Nevada at the age of 18 and married her high school sweetheart, Leeland (Larry) Laurence Huettl. Her five sweet children roamed freely on 10 acres of Bend countryside adjacent to her parent's farm, where she built her own home rock by rock. Karen drove school bus in Bend and after the divorce, Tri-Met bus in Portland, Oregon.
She remarried in 1976 and bought a large yacht with the intention to live on the sea and fish. Neither the marriage nor the boat lasted too long. After her third divorce in 1982 she decided marriage was not for her and took the last name Chandler which was her mother's maiden name and could be traced back for centuries in the family.
In 1987, since she always said she was born under a wandering star, she bought a truck and drove long haul. She traveled all across the country, coming back with stories of turning leaves in Vermont, snowstorms in the Midwest, traffic in New York, and the sweet air of the South.
Karen then moved to Tijuana, Mexico, just because she could, but she missed her family and moved back after a year to teach Driver-Education in Los Angeles, California. She moved to Oregon where most of her grandbabies resided and drove local dump truck until she retired in 2000.
When visiting with her children and grandchildren she liked to tell stories, play Gin Rummy and Pinochle, bake German pancakes, and watch old movies. She had many cats and monkeys throughout her life and hilarious stories to go with them.
During the last few decades of her life she chose to live in Scappoose and always next to a river or creek where her green thumb flourished. Karen loved to tend chickens and rabbits in her wild enviable rose garden. Her home and her garden were her canvas and her life never lacked self-expression.
Karen was an accomplished painter, writer, sculptor, woodworker, jeweler, knitter, crafter, cake decorator, storyteller, photographer and gardener. She loved road trips, John Wayne movies, and the music of Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis and Elvis Presley. One of her favorite movies was Paint Your Wagon and one of her favorite songs was Let the Rest of the World Go By.
She passed peacefully at the age of 81 due to congestive heart failure on May 26, 2020, in Saint Helens, Oregon.
She is survived by three remaining siblings, Loren Albert Oberst, Charlotte Aby Benz and Glenne Willo Kruchkow; and three pre-deceased siblings, Arden Carleen Daly, Carl William Oberst Jr. and August Ray Oberst. She leaves behind five living children, Carleen Marie Thomas, Brett Jesse Huettl, Lorraine (Lorri) Louise Thornton, IdaLee Elaina Huettl and Rachel Arden DeBorde; as well as 12 beloved grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.
No cards or flowers are needed. Just think of her every time you have that second dessert, see that photo worthy landscape, buy that silly trinket, or hear that old Elvis gospel song, because she will surely be thinking of you.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.columbiafh.com.
Columbia Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements, 503-397-1154.