Karen Sue Sedgwick Stone Profile Photo
1934 Karen 2023

Karen Sue Sedgwick Stone

August 3, 1934 — January 8, 2023

Salt Lake City, UT

Karen Sue Sedgwick Stone, beloved wife, mother, and educator, died in the early hours of Sunday, January 8, 2023, surrounded by loving family on both sides of the veil. Though not unforeseen from prolonged illness, her death came swifter than expected.

Karen was a uniquely perceptive woman; warm, caring, and gracious.  While hers was a life of much happiness, it was not without its adversity. She mastered the art of living that uniquely combined both tender affection and admirable resolve. 

In her rich and varied lifespan of 88½ years, Karen, as a child in the World War II years, was an eyewitness to the Greatest Generation as they saved the world. At an even younger age, she was exposed to the hard-knock realities of life guided by her goodly parents, who were of the earlier generation that endured the Great Depression. From them, she experienced firsthand the values of good hard by-the-sweat-of-your-brow work, the gospel of the clean plate, and making do.

Born August 3, 1934, in Riverside, California, Karen was the eldest daughter of Joel Garrett Sedgwick and Lola Mae Hansen. They were her rock and her anchor, her roots and her wings, the "immovable object and irresistible force" who would sustain her throughout her life with their love and exemplary lives until their passing in the 1990s. A strikingly beautiful girl with dark hair and big brown eyes, Karen thrived in the paradise that was Southern California before the freeways, still fragrant with orange groves, and which always held a special place in her heart. 

Graduating from the Riverside public school system with many accomplishments and honors, she attended BYU on scholarship, where she continued her achievements, both in student leadership and Church service as the first Relief Society president of the newly-formed North Campus Branch, with over 5,000 members at the time. It was there that she met her husband-to-be, Douglas Leslie Stone, son of O. Leslie and Dorothy Cobbley Stone. She and Doug married August 8, 1955, in the St. George Temple, after a whirlwind courtship that family members still recount today, while Doug's folks, "Mother & Father Stone," quickly became a second set of parents, the equal of her own.

The young couple resided in New York, Palo Alto, and Hayward, California, where they were blessed with a daughter, Rebecca, and two sons, Douglas Reed and Adam Leslie, before her husband’s life was tragically cut short due to leukemia just eight years later, on May 19, 1963, a date that would mark a crucible for Karen—her life forever changed.  Living to 2023, in fact, marked her 60th year of stoic yet merry widowhood, always anticipating the time of reunion with her beloved husband, which day has finally come.

Finding herself widowed at 28 with three children under the age of six, opened a new chapter in Karen's life, necessitating her becoming a working mom.  Rather than bemoan her fate, she rolled up her sleeves, eventually moved the family to Provo, and completed her education to the Master's level in Home Economics Education and Child Development/Family Relations at BYU, where she also taught as a faculty member for seven years. In 1974, she was recruited by the Utah State Office of Education to be the state specialist for Home Economics, supervising all secondary education teachers and instruction statewide. It was her assignment and privilege to oversee the "Home Ec Ed" of literally thousands of young people, as well as to direct the state Future Homemakers of America (FHA) organization, while she further distinguished herself with the development of numerous curriculum guides, elements of which are still being used today.  Her Home Ec tenure lasted 15 years, and was followed by six years as Coordinator of Nutrition Education & Training, and as Child Nutrition Specialist. In this role, she promoted what is now seen as the equally essential School Breakfast Program, contributing to the physical wellbeing of untold children and youth, allowing them to be in school to focus on learning not hunger. Karen also continued with the development of many definitive nutritional curriculum and training programs. During her State Office years, she received many professional honors and enjoyed wonderful personal associations that lasted a lifetime.  And a final thought on her chosen field, lest one think Home Ec is just for "moms & girls"... as Karen would wisely affirm: regardless of who you are or where you dwell (be it ever so humble), "Everyone is a Home Economist."

While Karen counted herself lucky to have a profession that embraced home and family life, her greatest joys came from her own family and spiritual service. For Karen the two were intertwined, belonging, as she did, to a great and extended family whose heritage extended to the earliest days of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and her rich pioneer ancestry that drew from the British Isles and Scandinavia. She was dedicated to the Relief Society program, serving as a ward or stake R.S. president on four different occasions—until she "gets it right," as she often kidded. She had many other callings in a variety of choice wards over her lifetime, and always cherished being a teacher. Especially memorable was her time as Early Morning Seminary instructor at the Oakland-Berkeley Interstake Center adjacent to the beloved Oakland Temple that had such meaning for the extended Stone family, and where Karen and her young family lived across the street for two years.

A most gifted cook, Karen's culinary skills were extraordinary. Her Sunday pot roasts and carrot cookies at Christmas will be long-remembered. She delighted in quilting, interior design, antiques, and really anything that embodied the beauty of the earth. And we'd better mention her sewing skills for the record. Even back in the day when more people sewed, Karen designed and made her own wedding dress, among many other articles of clothing, now to be forever adored. She found writing to be a particularly rewarding hobby, composing biographical sketches, assembling profound quotes and perceptive stories by other authors, gathering family histories, and generating a body of work (including published pieces)—that will keep her family busy in the months ahead to properly catalog and distribute as part of her treasured legacy. Don't be surprised if there's still a masterpiece or two yet to come out of the "Mother Karen" archives.

So now it's on to your next Great Adventure, KSS, just as your mother, Lola Mae, used to say, and what a reunion you're having in the many mansions of your Heavenly Father's house—so glorious we can barely conceive of it all through our "tears of joy" (a term you would often use).  But we will imagine, thanks to the lessons you instilled in us of "listening to the still, small voice," and "seeing with our spiritual eyes." Thanks for giving us the best years of your life and your love. The words of one of your favorite hymns, "There is beauty all around when there's love at home," will forever be your theme song, etched in our hearts. We see now, more clearly than ever, that you were that love—love you poured into every home you established—and by so doing transformed them into mansions—each just across the street from the House of the Lord. 

God be with you till we meet again, sweet sister, dearest mother, precious grandmother, cherished friend.  We had hoped you'd make it to 90, but we're so grateful for the years we had.  We are all better for knowing you.  You were truly the living embodiment of what is perhaps the closest we're able to experience on earth to the unconditional love of Christ:  motherly love.  And you were a pure Mother in Zion, a true "Matriarchal Blessing", one-of-a-kind.  You will never be forgotten, and we pray that we may honor you by living our lives in the years ahead in a way that pays tribute to the legacy you gave us.  

Karen is survived by her three children, siblings Claudia Monson (Cal, deceased), Steve Sedgwick (Brooke; first wife, Patty, deceased), and Lolly Osguthorpe (Russ), in-laws Ronald V. "Bud" Stone (Pat), Thomas R. Stone (Diane). Predeceased by her parents, parents-in-law, brother-in-law James Reed Stone, brothers Joel W. Sedgwick (Virginia, living), Donald H. Sedgwick (also a Virginia, living), and baby Allan Sedgwick. Survived also by grandchildren Dorothy, Louise, Sophia, Carl Oscar, Eleonora, Karin, Emmanuel, Gustav, and Hedvig, with ten great-grandchildren and at least two on the way. 

MEDICAL NOTE:  When Karen was three, she nearly drowned.  Wandering to the bank of a swift flowing creek, she fell in and was hanging on for dear life, clutching to the weeds about to give way.  With no reason to do so on the part of her father—hearing no audible cries— “Papa Joel," sensing from a higher source that his little Karen Sue was in danger, miraculously rushed directly to the spot where she was about to be swept away and lifted her into his outstretched arms.

Like the fighter she was then, Karen summoned all her courage until her very last breath, enduring unbelievably arduous days in the hospital, with hour-to-hour life and death struggles.  Even with constant setbacks, she almost triumphed, but after three weeks, the toll was unsustainable, and she succumbed to complications of what was believed to be a form of Parkinson's Disease, only recently diagnosed, but already in its later stage.  With thanks to all the doctors, nurses, and medical personnel at Intermountain Medical Center, Murray, Utah, particularly noting the Emergency Department, the Neuro Critical Care & Respiratory ICU, and the Neuro Medical floor that worked so valiantly and heroically to save and preserve Karen’s life, giving loved one’s precious extra days they wouldn’t otherwise have enjoyed.

Funeral services will be held at 12:00 p.m. Saturday, January 21, 2023, at the Murray 23rd Ward Chapel, 755 East Three Fountains Drive, Murray, Utah. A visitation will be held from 11:00-11:45 a.m. at the church prior to services. Interment: Sunset View Cemetery, El Cerrito, California.

Services will be streamed live on the Russon Brothers Mortuary Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the services and will be posted below.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen Sue Sedgwick Stone, please visit our flower store.

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Saturday, January 21, 2023

11:00 - 11:45 am (Mountain time)

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Saturday, January 21, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Mountain time)

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