Karen Georgette Huff Atkins was born on October 16, 1943, in Junction City, Kansas to Bertha Ollie Ellen Thompson and Eulice Vernie Huff. Karen passed away on July 5, 2017, in Provo, Utah from complications after falling and breaking her hip. A memorial service will be held at the Mountain View Cemetery in Columbus, Mont., on August 5, 2017, at 10 am.
Karen grew up with two brothers and three sisters. Their favorite hangouts were the swimming pool and the movie theater. Even though Karen lived far away in Seattle after growing up, her desire to be around her family stayed strong. Almost every summer vacation was spent in Montana with family.
Karen married Fred Lawson in 1961, had two daughters and a premature son who passed away shortly after birth. Karen was a good mom, because her mother was a good mom, and it rubbed off on her, so that when she found herself a single mother, she had the grit and determination to raise her daughters to become the women they are today. After working hard every day for so long raising her daughters, she couldn’t sit still after they moved out. She found projects to work on and grandchildren to spoil with the best chocolate chip cookies ever and lots of crafts!
Building her own car port was just one of many projects Karen took on with the carpentry talent she inherited from her father. Her daughters were nervous when they heard about new projects because these projects often brought new injuries such as cuts and broken bones.
Karen’s main love was being a mom and taking care of her daughters but because life didn’t go as planned, she had to find work. Her first adult job was at a fabric store and she became an accomplished seamstress. She went on to make many beautiful costumes and dresses for her daughters and grandchildren. While working on the more difficult items, she might have been heard spouting off a few curse words.
Karen spent many years working at the US Postal Service in the Seattle area. When her daughters were raised, she vowed that she would move back to her beloved Montana which she did at the first opportunity. With her second husband Tom Atkins she purchased the Iron Kettle Café in Absarokee, Montana and learned about the trials of owning and running your own business. She dealt with long, hard hours and employees that steal from you. Karen loved her last job of helping plan and run activities for the residents of the Beartooth Manor in Columbus, Montana, such as playing pinochle with them, cooking them a special breakfast and decorating for Christmas.
Karen is preceded in death by her parents Bertha and Vern Huff; siblings Gene (and Ann) Huff, Barbara Wegner and Susan (and Bernard) Schaff; brother-in-law Bob Farmstead; son David Lee Lawson; first husband Fred Lawson and second husband Thomas Atkins. She is survived by siblings Connie Farmstead, Ron (and Elaine) Huff; brother-in-law Earl Wegner; children Linda (and David) Arnold and Sandy (and David) Chabot; grandchildren Amy Arnold, Ben (and Tasha) Arnold, Matthew Arnold, Jonathan Arnold, Jonathon Chabot, Jessica (and Elliott) Hope, Christine Chabot and great-granddaughter Kassandra Chabot-Hope.