Karen M. Lawrence, 86, of Logan, Utah, formerly of Big Piney, passed away Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Logan, Utah, of natural causes.
Born Karen Blanche Matthews on March 23, 1935, in Evanston, Wyo., Karen was the third of four children and only daughter born to Victor Washington Matthews and Helen Blanche Marsh.
For much of her childhood, her parents operated the Bennett Motel on Front Street in Evanston. She met the love of her life, David E. Lawrence of Salem, Utah, working in the Gift and Sweet Shop in Evanston when she was 16. He was a handsome 20-year-old roughneck working in the oil fields. She graduated from Evanston High School and attended Brigham Young University, where she was a Cougarette, before marrying Dave in the Salt Lake LDS Temple on June 16, 1954, following his discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps. To this union were born seven children: Kathy, Mark, Paul, Linda, Diane, Julie and Coleen. They spent most of their married life in Big Piney, Wyo., until Dave died from malignant melanoma in 1979. They were active members of the Big Piney Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from its early days as a branch. As a young widow, she worked for the Big Piney schools as a teacher's aide for one year before relocating to Utah to raise her children, working first as a receptionist for Utah Education Association and later for the LDS Church Welfare Department.
She married Leslie Hart Andelin on Oct. 20, 2000, in the Mount Timpanogos LDS Temple and they served part of their five-year marriage as temple missionaries in the Orlando, Florida, LDS Temple. They later divorced. Hart preceded her in death in 2016.
After being widowed, she lived in Kearns, Murray, Pleasant Grove, Providence and St. George, Utah; Orlando, Florida; Salem, Oregon; Issaquah, Washington; and finally Logan, Utah, where she was a resident at Legacy House of Logan. Part of her heart was always in Big Piney.
She is survived by her children Kathy (Lawrence T. Riordan, deceased) of Fort Myers, Florida, and Three Lakes, Wisconsin, Linda of Logan, Utah, Diane (Nordell Brown) of Logan, Julie (J. Brooks Peacock) of Salem, Oregon, and Coleen of Logan, Utah, 15 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, her brothers Russell, Elmo and Tommie Matthews, her husband and both sons. Mark died shortly after birth of causes incident to prematurity and Paul died of early dementia in 2014.
To honor Karen’s wishes, private services for family were held graveside and COVID compliant in Salem, Utah, where she was buried alongside Dave.
The family would like to thank Legacy House of Logan and Intermountain Health Care Hospice for the attentive, kind and loving care of their mother.
Memorials can be directed to Walker Funeral Home in Spanish Fork, Utah, or to the family. In Karen’s memory please do a kindness, right a wrong, mend a relationship, plant a garden, and lift someone up. And please smile and think of her when you drive past the old Big Piney Oil & Gas derrick in downtown Big Piney or enjoy a picnic in the grandeur of Wyoming’s mountains. She was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, wife and friend. She will be deeply missed.