Karen Stangland

Karen Stangland, 71, died in her Reno, Nev. home. Karen was born in Orange, California, to Gordon and Harriet Stangland.

After 6-1/2 years of continuous treatment for metastatic breast cancer, Karen Stangland, 71, died in her Reno home with her brother, David, and her niece, Johanna, at her side.

Karen was born in Orange, California, to Gordon and Harriet Stangland. A few years later, the family, including her older brother, David, moved to Placerville, California, where her younger sister, Katy, was born, and where Karen graduated from high school in 1970. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada, Reno, where she was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and made lifetime friendships to add to those she held dear from her life in Placerville.

For many years, Karen was a dealer in various Reno casinos and added yet more lasting friendships. Some years later, she began a career in the financial sector and obtained a broker’s license. During those years she worked in San Francisco, Sacramento and Reno.

After her father died of leukemia, Karen generously and lovingly gave up her career, and, in 2012, moved to Tonasket, Washington to help care for her aging mother. Their deep love for Katy took them back to Reno to care for her in her last months as she was dying of ovarian cancer. After returning to Tonasket, it was discovered that her mother also had ovarian cancer, and Karen continued caring for her until she died in 2016.

While in Tonasket, Karen worked diligently and persistently to raise money for a community swimming pool, a project dear to her parents’ hearts. She spearheaded a fundraising campaign for the construction of the new pool, raising one million dollars. She sent each donor a handwritten thank you. She also developed friendships in Tonasket that were important to her, and that supported her both in her care-giving and her efforts to build the pool.

Karen loved traveling the world which she often did with her sister Katy, as well as various friends. Many of her trips included scuba diving and her dear friend, Marjorie, “Dive Buddies For Life.” Most recently she was able to travel with other family members to the Åland Islands to see family that still live there and to the southern part of Africa with a friend where, of course, the wildlife was incredible to see. It was wonderful that she was able to take both trips given that by then her mobility was compromised. She was also an accomplished alpine skier, having raced for her high school team and various casino teams.

Karen believed in working hard and in making a difference. She was always thinking of others and doing something to help. Most recently, despite little energy due to her cancer, she knitted many, many hats for new babies to be given out in various maternity wards in Reno. She liked staying busy, and during her years in Reno she also started a side business as a professional window washer, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

Karen had many wonderful friends throughout the country. In her last years, her Reno friends and neighbors, and her cousins, Marie Petersen and Chris and Julie Petersen, were especially generous in providing support, whether making meals, giving transportation, helping with her computer, or playing a cut-throat game of Bridge. They were also incredibly helpful to David and Johanna in the days following Karen’s death. There are too many to name. She always knew that her friends, wherever they were, were supportive and caring, and she was deeply grateful for their love.

Karen is survived by her brother, David (Catherine) of Tonasket, Washingon and her niece, Johanna, of McCall, Idaho and many cousins for whom she was very grateful. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister, all of whom died of cancer. So that others might not suffer from the effects of cancer, Karen donated her body to science through Medcure, an organization that facilitates body donation for research.

Please join family and friends to celebrate Karen’s life on June 29, 2024 from noon to 4 p.m. at 8075 List Country Rd. in Carson City, NV (Washoe Valley).