Karen Elizabeth Nelson
Karen Elizabeth Nelson
1944 – 2015
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Karen Elizabeth Nelson (nee Surina) on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, after a short stay at the Kootenay Lake Hospital.
She was born in Nelson, BC on March 5, 1944 to John and Lib Surina, along with big brother Ken. Karen came from a large family which originally settled the Shutty Bench area north of Kaslo in the late 1800’s. She was also fortunate to have her maternal family close by as well, including her grandmother in New Denver. She met the love of her life and married George Nelson from Silverton and they spent 50 happy years together raising their family, exploring and running their businesses. They designed and built their houses in Kaslo and Mirror Lake, where she lived for most of her life.
Karen was an excellent student and excelled at sports. Badminton, basketball, track and field and swimming were among her favourites. She used to tell stories about swimming across Kootenay Lake on the May long weekend in her younger years and working as a lifeguard at Kaslo beach. Karen spent countless hours outdoors hiking, picnicking, camping and boating with her family and especially cherished her time spent at Lost Ledge. She also loved music and used to entertain everyone playing the piano and accordion. Family was everything to her and she loved getting regular updates on the lives of her children, grandchildren and holiday visits were very special times. She really enjoyed playing cards and board games, bird watching and throwing parties, especially on New Year’s Eve.
Karen first worked as a telephone operator and then a bookkeeper for T&H Sawmill, but she was known by most people in the area first as the co-owner of K & G Clothes Hanger and later the Kaslo Home Hardware.
Karen was active in the community when raising her family, with the Kinsmen & Kinettes, the figure skating club and enjoyed brightening Front Street with her elaborate holiday storefront decorations. She was a majorette for the school marching band and felt privileged to be asked to be on the final voyage of the SS Moyie in 1957.
Kaslo May Days were very special to her as it often meant the family was coming home. You could always find her at the ball diamond watching the slow pitch tournament along the first base line. She adored the maypole dance as it brought back fond memories as she and all of her children had participated in it over the years. She also had some great laughs watching her grandchildren in the egg and spoon and sack races.
Karen, with a lot of help from George, had a beautiful home that attracted many visitors to view their extensive flower gardens and Halloween and Christmas light decoration displays. She enjoyed canning almost everything and her strawberry jam was particularly delicious. She was very artistic and loved to draw, sew and paint ceramics.
Karen is survived by her husband George, her children Klay (Sarah), Kent (Kelley) and Kara, and her grandchildren Hannah, Sam, Sophie, Ross and Gabe.
Karen did not want a memorial service and in lieu of flowers please make a donation to the SPCA, one of her favourite charities and in memory of all of the animals she loved and saved over the years.