Karen Lee Rippe
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Karen Lee Rippe
  • June 1, 1945 - September 18, 2017
  • Portland, Oregon

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Karen Lee Olson-Rippe was born in 1945 in Aberdeen, Washington to Kennore and Vivian Olson. Her father was in the Airforce, so travel was in her future. She experienced many different cultures and saw the world up close. With all the changes in her life, as a survival technique, she learned to make friends easily. That stood her in good stead throughout her life.

From Washington to Colorado to Portland, then to Tripoli Libya. There, with her young brother Kermy, she saw many different sites and soaked up lots of history; such as Roman ruins and the desert life of the Arab people. In 1951, her dad was sent back to Portland, Oregon where she went to Portsmouth grade school and made many friends.

In 1956, Karen's father was stationed in Leon, France. France became the launching point for extensive site seeing for the family. From the historic points of Paris to the French coast of the English Channel to many other weekend trips in France. The weekend and holiday trips expanded into Germany, Belgium, Austria and Holland. They saw many different landmarks, castles, towns and countryside's.

In 1959, Karen's father was transferred to Richard Gabor Airbase in Belton, Missouri. Her father retired from the Airforce in 1960 and headed back to Portland, Oregon, where he had a job offer to work for Guy Kennedy and Pac Mar in the shipyards of Swan Island. Karen went to Sunset High school for her freshman year, then transferred to Roosevelt High School when the family home was completed in St. John's.

Karen met Ernest (Ernie) Rippe at Roosevelt and married him in June of 1962. By 1964, they had two children, June and Ray. Karen loved the family she was born into as well as the one she married into. Many happy hours were spent going to family functions and getaways with family and family friends.
Karen became very active in St. John Lutheran Church, which she adopted when she married Ernie. She stayed loyal to and active in St. John until the day she died. Many of her close friends and activities were centered around the church. She helped with Sunday School and youth groups. She attended different bible studies and was active in the choir, Altar Guild and other groups. Her faith was strong and she showed it by helping wherever she was able.
After 24 years, Karen went back to school to study business and began working in offices. Between temporary work and full-time jobs, she was exposed to many different companies and people. As with her childhood and youth, she made friends wherever she worked.

In April of 1998, Karen witnessed the birth of her only grandchild, Nathan. She was the first to hold him and was devoted to him from that day on. They had many happy hours together over the next 19 years.

Karen loved arts and crafts. Until her mother died, she spent much of her time with Vivian learning many different types of arts and crafts. She developed friendships based around these arts and crafts as well. She put together one room in her house totally devoted to this pursuit. One of her last craft loves was making cards. During her peak, she made and distributed approximately 250 handmade Christmas cards. She tracked birthdays for everyone she knew on a calendar and sent them cards. Many people received cards for every holiday; Valentine's, St. Patrick's, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween and Thanksgiving. We will all miss those cards.

Karen joined the Lord September 18, 2017, after an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Her faith and the prayers of many family and friends kept her strong and positive during that struggle. She smiled even when the treatments were hard on her. And again, made friends throughout the process. Those of us who were touched by her and loved her, will miss her dearly.

A celebration of Karen's life will be held at St John Lutheran Church, 4227 N Lombard St, Portland, OR, 11am, Saturday, October 7.

Please visit the guestbook portion of this site and enter a special memory or message. Thank you.

Arrangements under the direction of Skyline Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, Portland, OR. (503) 292-6611