In honor of a Gift From God…..

Posted: June 4, 2012 in Hope, Prayers
Tags: ,

June 5th, it will be 2 years since beautiful Karen left the constraints of earth, and went to join her Lord, and Family…I share this Eulogy because we always need to remember those who have brought joy, hope, and peace into our lives.  I miss my dear Cousin, Karen.   I hope you will enjoy hearing of who she is.


Karen Rosalie Cox Johnson
by Lloyd Ann Caston

I am here today to tell you a little about the Life of Karen Rosalie Cox Johnson. Some of you will know some of what I have to tell you and some of you will leave here knowing more about her than you ever did. Others of you will have unique memories of her, that I never knew of, or that were just between the two of you or that time will not allow me to mention.

Karen has affected each of our lives in so many different ways, it is difficult even knowing where to start, so I will start with my first real memory of her….

When Karen was just a kid, She was definitely a Daddy’s girl and a little spoiled. She was used to being the center of attention and she never had to share their love.

When her brother Kenny was born she begged and pleaded with her Dad to just take him back to the hospital, because she didn’t want him….She was nine then and had the luxury of being an only child up to that point. As you probably guessed…Mom and Dad decided to keep Kenny, despite Karen’s heart-wrenching cries. It was a good choice!

Ken and her eventually learned to live together, although there was the time she had him on the kitchen floor and washed his mouth out with soap, all the while Kathy cheering her on. As adults, she has enjoyed the times they have spent together. She was delighted when Ken found his wife Debbie and the happiness he has experienced. She loved their kids, and enjoyed the times they had been able to get together.

By the time her sister, Kathy was born, Karen was almost grown so they didn’t have many years as a family, but in the “grown up” years they became the best of friends, and Karen was always so excited when Kathy was planning a visit home. The time she got to go visit Kathy an her husband Ron in Iowa, was one of those memories that Karen truly treasured! She just loved “her” Kathy and Kathy’s husband Ron.

When Karen graduated high school, she left home, and went to secretarial school where she became incredibly good at secretarial skills. She could type 140 to 150 words per minute on her fancy new IBM Selectric Typewriter without errors and she could take shorthand at the speed of sound. In the last month of her life, we were talking about her shorthand, and since I knew some as well, I wrote my name in shorthand…and asked her what I had written…she said she didn’t know…but when I told her, she said nooooooo…that’s not right and then proceeded to write it correctly. Then she went down the list of my Grandson Casey’s spelling words and wrote them all. She laughed about how times have changed, and no one knows shorthand any more.

She went to work for the Secretary of State in Bismarck…She met, and married her husband Jerry, and they lived in Bismarck until they moved to Houston where “the light of her life” was born. Michael…. and she almost always called him Michael….became each other’s best friend. She always loved to tell the story of the night when he was about two years old, when they heard this creaking, squeaking, banging sound coming from Michael’s room…so they snuck in to take a peek. There was Mike, he had managed to take off all his clothes and had climbed out of his crib, across the top of a dresser and was sitting on his jumping horse and riding that horse with all his might. She always chuckled over her little “naked cowboy.” I am not quite so sure that Mike finds the story all that amusing….but the rest of us have laughed until we cried every time she told it!

Karen also worked for the Highway Patrol, where she would travel to different communities to give Driver’s tests, it seems she always speeded and one day took out a whole flock of birds. There were so many feathers and dead birds on the highway, someone had to come and get them off. According to Karen, it looked a lot like a War Zone and she had to hide her car until she could get it washed. Her boss saw the birds and said somebody was going “way too fast”….He never found out it was Karen, or if he did he never mentioned it!

In the most recent time, Karen decided she needed a job, and went to work for the MTI Call Center. She was busy selling “phone stuff” she had never heard of up to that time. Karen loved talking on the phone and she loved the people she worked with. It was definitely right up her alley, and one of the jobs she loved best, although it may have been the “people” she loved best. She loved dressing up and looking good. Not only did Karen never go to work looking bad, she never went anywhere unless she was dressed and looking outstanding. It seemed that she had a 1000 outfits, that she mixed and matched, and wore with class.

Karen never liked the dark, because she remembered the old outhouse and how her Mom would try to hurry her back, by telling her to “hurry up, or the boogie man will get you!” It has been in just the last year she overcame her fear of the dark and was able to be outside in the dark, alone….but not for long. Now Mice were a different story….she never overcame the hysteria that came when she saw a mouse!

One evening when she was headed back to Bismarck from Bowbells, darkness was fast approaching and as usual Karen was speeding! She got stopped by one of her Highway patrol friends. She was traveling about 110 MPH in her classy white convertible. She managed to just get a warning since she knew all the highway Patrolmen and they loved her as much as we do….When she got back on the road again, Night wasn’t far off….needless to say, she had to speed up some!

As marriages sometimes go, this one ended in divorce. Karen set out to start a new life. She returned to Bowbells, and went through some tough years. She fought and won the battle against Alcoholism, with the help of her family. Her liver had almost totally shut down, and death was imminent….She remembers the hours that her Aunt Violet, Aunt Grace and her Mother, sat by her bed in the hospital, praying and telling her repeatedly that she would be alright. Karen was a fighter and she decided to live…with God’s miracle, she did!

It was during this time of recovery, she found a faith in God that sustained her. God took this broken, hopeless, almost dead woman and restored her to health, and created a new person. She never spoke much about the change that had occurred, or her faith in God, but those who knew her, also knew that something huge had just occurred. Money and stuff no longer seemed all that important, and it was something that was great to have, but if you didn’t have it, you could get by. She didn’t have much money, but there was always enough for her to give away, or buy a present for someone.

People became her focus. Each of us here know how she could walk into a room and the entire atmosphere would change. She was funny and made us all laugh. She encouraged others. She brought peace to those who were stressed. She always found her way to the person who was stressed and would put her hand on their shoulder and just gently rub their shoulders….peace would settle upon that person almost instantly. That peace worked for adults and children alike. A unique gift from God for those around her.

Karen, was a little strange, in that she loved to wash clothes…It was one of the joys of her life. She was very particular at it too. Never, ever did she wash mixed fabric or colors… Never did she leave clothes in the dryer to get wrinkled. They always came out at the right time. Laundry was always folded. Only Karen could fold a fitted sheet so smooth that you couldn’t tell…. until you unfolded it, whether it was the flat sheet or the fitted. Karen insisted that Michael learn this skill, and I can tell you if you want a sheet folded right….You will have to ask Mike to show you….because he learned this well…..His Mom insisted he do it right!

Karen was a giver of love, and that love was given in a multitude of ways. She would come to visit, and then clean your house. She came to visit and then helped can fruit or veggies, or wash YOUR clothes, clean a drawer or clean a closet. One time she came to visit and then wanted to make donuts, so we did. We had her mother’s recipe! It was important to her. Her Mom was in a nursing home, so she couldn’t make donuts anymore. We spent days making donuts to get her Mother’s recipe to taste like her Mother’s donuts because she wanted to take them to the nursing home for Doris to share with all the other residents. We finally added extra cinnamon and extra vanilla to the mix and got them to taste just like Doris’s donuts. She finally figured out that her Mom had the recipe, but didn’t follow it exactly. The donuts were a huge hit, and she was delighted to see her Mom’s excitement in sharing “her” donuts.

Karen and Doris were more than Mother and Daughter…they were great friends. There was very little that Karen loved more than being with Doris. Doris always loved touch and so did Karen. It was the back rubs her mom would give her that she missed so much. She sat hours with Doris in the nursing home, and in the process loved all the other residents as well. She would always bring something, do something….talk, touch, love….Karen could bring smiles in the midst of sadness, and laughter in all circumstances. She truly was a gift from God to a hurting world.

She loved her Aunt Grace and Violet! They were such a special part of her life. She visited them often, took them places, helped them, canned with them, crocheted with them. They shared so very many special times.

During her time in Bowbells, Betty became a special friend. They shared a respect and friendship that most of us only dream of. Mary too was a friend that remained through the years. What blessings friends are and Karen had lots of them, if you don’t believe that….look around you.

There was a feistiness about Karen….she was also an “in your face” kind of person. When she didn’t like what you were doing, she let you know. When someone had to tell Karen something you knew she wasn’t going to like, everybody would disappear…nobody wanted to be the deliverer of the bad news. When the day came that Karen was going to have to move from her house in Bowbells that she had rented for years, because it got sold, she was going to have to be told, and she was going to have to move.

I remember well the day that I was elected to share this little item with her. She was not at all happy about any of it. She was furious with the buyer and angry about the sale. But like Karen always did, she got over it. We determined that God must have a different plan for her life, although she was pretty much convinced He was wrong…. As it turned out, because of that situation she bought her own house, a dream house with an upstairs. It was what she had always wanted. He had given her, through someone very special, the desire of her heart. She loved that little house…It was one of the “best things that ever happened to her,” she said…. She always liked the Victorian style of everything. Entering Her house was like walking into a the past in some ways. She loved the frilly curtains and the Victorian pictures and the lamps and all those things of years gone by, and yet she was able to bring them into a style that was all her own. Decorating was a gift that she shared with whoever would let her.

There was the time that Karen went to Las Vegas, She always had wanted to go there, and so she went with My Sister, Mary and her son, Scott and his wife, Shannon and several others. She loved the sites, wasn’t game for much gambling, loved riding in a limo…..but the very best part for Karen was the excitement of stopping and breathing oxygen at the oxygen bars. She got the biggest kick out of that, and would make everyone stop and wait for her while she sat and breathed the oxygen. Needless to say, she got a lot of kidding over “holding up the parade” so to speak. She just laughed…and kept looking for Oxygen bars.

Whichever one of us that needed anything, Karen was there for us. She would sit in Waiting rooms for hours and days, while someone was hospitalized . You learned really quickly that it was pointless to try to read, because Karen would sit and crochet…..and talk and talk and talk…. She could crochet all day without even thinking about it and she would always talk. It always amazed me that there were so many things to discuss….She cared about everyone. She wondered about everything…She would strike up a conversation with anyone….She gave stuff away to the people around her, and she always seemed to know who needed what, and she usually had it. She gave time, love and with Karen you always knew she cared!

She was a teacher. She taught you that family was important. She taught you that you could get through anything. She taught you to see the good of people. She taught you to laugh at yourself. She taught you to celebrate life. It didn’t matter what was coming….she taught you that you could do it and you could survive and that it would always be better soon.

You never know much about someone until you know what they watch on TV….She and my husband Mace would spend hours watching cop shows. They were like two peas in a pod. Our house was full of the sound of sirens and sounds of gunfights, and everything that goes with cop shows. They never got tired of watching and spending that time together. Karen loved Mace and He loved her….

Karen treasured people. She used her skills and design expertise to bless others. Each of us has something that Karen made….and gave. It might have been a little box she had covered, or a tablecloth that she had crocheted for months on, or it may have been a scrubby, or a book she had covered, or a doll.

One of Karen’s most endearing qualities was her Gratefulness for everything you did for her, or gave her. She was one of those people you loved to “do for”, because somehow she never forgot. Even when she was so sick, she always appreciated you. People just wanted to bless her somehow, because she was so grateful.

I think the things we will miss most are the “Cox” hugs….they were not those sad little polite hugs, that people tend to give, they were the great big two armed hugs that put you belly to belly in a squeeze. It made you feel warm and fuzzy, even in the midst of troubles. I think I will miss the appreciation she had for food that “someone else” cooked. She would eat until you thought she was going to explode. She could gain 5 pounds a week at my house….before she got sick, but at her own house….she forgot to eat!

Today is the day we gather to celebrate Karen’s life. Make no mistake about it, our Karen is with Jesus today. She is with Doris, and Lowie, and Bob and Clive, and all those she so loved……She is laughing and talking and probably doing for someone else. She is totally healed of Cancer because even though Cancer can kill the body, it could not take “our Karen!” She is free and whole and happy. She is with her God….and at peace. Before she left, I asked if she wanted me to pray for her…she always did, but this day, she said….I have been praying all day! We are reminded…that whoever calls on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, shall be saved! Karen did and we must remember that though we miss her, she is in BETTER place.

In the days before her passing, I prayed, knowing she was like a Kite flying high in the sky….The wind was strong pulling against that kite, the string was running out, and I knew I would have to release it soon…..I knew she would fly free soon…and when she did, we would have our memories to hold her in our hearts, forever.

Karen loved us all so much and she made each of us feel very special….but we all know the really special one was Karen!

Thank you God, for giving us Karen!








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