Karen Iwamoto

Karen Iwamoto

Karen Iwamoto, a Sitkan, died May 23 at her home, attended by her husband Ed Iwamoto and daughters Carrie Sumie and Erin Minh, and much love. She was 60.
A memorial service will be held 4 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea with a potluck to follow at the See House.
“Please join us to remember our Karen,” her friends and family said.
Karen Susan Swanson was born Oct. 4, 1956, in Salem, Ore., to Lloyd and Sheila Swanson.
A girl with three brothers, Karen grew up tough. She also learned to play a mean game of baseball with those brothers and consequently baseball became her lifelong favorite sport—she was a diehard Mariners fan.
Karen graduated from Oregon State University in 1979 with a degree in history and anthropology. Always up for an adventure, she jumped at the chance to come to Alaska when she was offered a position in Sitka with the U.S. Forest Service. She met her future husband, Forest Service co-worker Ed Iwamoto in 1984. They were married in the forest of the Camp Adams Church Camp in Molalla, Ore., in 1988.
Their love of all things Sitka kept them fishing, camping and boating for many years – their last family trip being a crabbing trip in 2015 to Ushk Bay.
In 1992 Carrie Sumie joined the family increasing the love tenfold, and in 1997 Erin Minh was born and the family was truly complete.
“To say Karen was kind, humble, generous and compassionate would not begin to describe the love and honor that was the Karen we all knew and loved.” friends said. “She gave generously of her time always – you would see her behind the concession stands at the baseball/softball games regularly.”
Softball, Little League, St. Peter’s by-the-Sea, Girl Scouts  – for every fundraiser Karen was there to help organize, plan, work a shift and always give unselfishly of her time.
“She led by example and was an inspiration to everyone she met although she would never take credit for that!” friends said. 
Karen was proceeded in death by her father Lloyd Swanson, stepfather Don Risner, stepmother Laurie Swanson and in parents-in-law Tom and Sue Iwamoto.
She is survived by her mother Sheila Risner of Salem, Ore.; children Carrie Sumie Iwamoto of Honolulu, Hawaii., and Erin Minh, a sophomore at Bentley University in Bostom, Mass; her brothers and sisters-in-law Tim Swanson,  Dennis Swanson (Nancy), and Keith Swanson (Lindy); and in-laws Naomi Iwamoto and Randy Foret, Nancy and Rick Iwamoto and Tim and Melody Roth.
Karen also was blessed with numerous nieces and nephews, and beloved extended family of Auntie Joyce and Auntie Marge (nursing school buddies of Grandma Sheila).

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