Our lovely, classy, smart, admirable, kookie, and much beloved Karen King Haarr passed away at home Dec. 7, 2019, following a long battle with cancer. In true Karen fashion, she “raged against the dying of the light” for much longer than seemed possible, rallying again and again to share as many more inimitable Karen moments with us as she could.
Born in Missoula on June 13, 1945, to Coleman and Evelyn King, Karen was the eldest of five children. She attended Roosevelt Grade School, Missoula County High School and the University of Montana, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. Six months studying abroad in Spain, time spent in Mexico, and a stint in Ecuador with the Peace Corps fueled her lifelong love of travel and adventure. While in Ecuador, Karen married her college love, Loren Haarr. Upon their return they moved to the Flathead Valley where they built a home and raised their two children, Lars and Larissa. Karen was courageous, strong, feisty, curious, friendly, adventurous, buoyant, and above all, generous of spirit. She was a loyal friend to her friends, a good neighbor to her neighbors, a steadfast sister to her siblings, and a loving “Mama K” to her children and their friends. Karen was a fashion maven whose love of clothes, shoes and jewelry was unparalleled. She also had a passion for music, movies, and dancing.
As a member of the AAUW, the American Association of University Women, Karen worked diligently year after year on the club’s fundraising book sale. She packed, hauled, sorted and stacked books, and always had boxes of books stored in her garage “for the sale.” Karen was a lifelong voracious reader, about whom we always said, “Born with a book in her hand.”
Karen was a dedicated Realtor with many clients who became her lifelong friends. Her connection with some families was so strong that she sold property to multiple generations. In 2000, she was named Montana Realtor of the Year by MAR (the Montana Association of Realtors), a huge accomplishment. That same year, she also won Realtor of the Year for NMAR, the local branch of the association. She was NMAR president in 1998 and served as state and local director of MAR from 2004 to 2007.
Anyone who knew Karen knew the greatest loves of her life were, without a doubt, Lars and Larissa. There really aren’t words to express the deep and undying adoration she had for them. They were quite literally the lights of her life and a more proud Mom would be difficult to find. Not only was she a loving and supportive parent, but in later years she was also a true friend and awesome adventure buddy!
Her love of family, friends and fashion was rivaled only by her love of travel. In recent years Karen reconnected with another great love, Craig McIntyre. Together they explored the world, took many cruises, saw incredible concerts, and relished all the joys life has to offer. Craig was a constant companion whose love and support was invaluable to Karen.
In 2018, Karen reconnected with her firstborn son, Thomas Morrison, on a Rogue River trip (in true Mama K fashion). After the trip, they continued to spend time bonding and getting to know one another and their families. Karen adored Thomas, loved spending time with him, and seeing the man he has become.
Karen was preceded in death by her father Colie, her beloved daughter Larissa, and her mother Evelyn.
She is survived by sons, Lars (wife Lauren McFate) and Thomas (wife Sloane Morrison); siblings, Sally (husband Alan Westhagen) of Seattle, Pat and Colette, both of Missoula, and Tony (wife Tricia) of Kalispell; and her stepfather, Dick Moore, of Missoula. She also leaves behind many cherished nieces, nephews, and their families. Also feeling this loss are Karen’s many dear friends; far too numerous to mention here.
We will celebrate Karen and share memories from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Cypress Yard, 204 Wisconsin Avenue, Whitefish.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations in Karen’s name to Angel Flight West, www.angelflightwest.org.