Karen Joyce Ostrander Anderson
April 29, 1943 – Dec. 8, 2020
Karen Joyce Ostrander Anderson left this world on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at age 77. Born and raised in Tacoma, Washington, the only child of Joy (Joe) & LaVerne Ostrander, Karen had fond childhood memories of her grandparents, aunts and uncles and many cousins in Tacoma, Nebraska and Idaho. She loved cats. As her dad was allergic, he built an outdoor shelter so she could have a feline friend. They joked the Ostranders had the only cat house on the block!
Karen attended Lincoln High School, then Central Washington University, earning a degree in speech therapy. She loved helping children with her skills.
She described her own children as two lights in her life. Raising them in Whatcom County in the 1970s, she treasured the years at home with her children on the farm, gardening, baking and doing craft projects. She was a Cub Scout and Girl Scout leader. She had great love for her family and friends. She loved craft fairs, collecting pottery and anything to do with cats.
She was active in her church. At Clearbrook Lutheran Church in Lynden, Washington, she served on multiple committees and was active in the lay ministry committee, giving several thoughtful sermons.
In 1982, she moved her family to the Skagit Valley, Washington. She worked with families on the Swinomish Reservation as a regional speech therapist and as a special education teacher for the Mt. Vernon Schools Summer Migrant Program. Attending Fir-Conway Lutheran Church, she taught comparative religion to high school students.
To be closer to her aging parents, Karen returned to Tacoma in 1988. She continued to follow her calling, helping children by working as a parent educator at Washington PAVE, a non-profit organization providing support, training, information and resources to empower and give voice to families impacted by disabilities.
A tin of cards she kept was filled with thanks from parents she helped find the resources they needed for their children. “You have no idea what a difference you make in people’s lives,” wrote one of the many parents she helped.
Empowering families impacted by disability was her passion. In a letter to the Tacoma News Tribune, she wrote, “When we remain silent about injustice and abuse toward any individual or group of people, we are condoning it. We are silently sending the message to the perpetrators and the victims that we do not care. Instead, we must teach the value and importance of all people in our society and that respect and caring are basic, minimum requirements for everyone.”
Due to health concerns, in 2015 she moved in with her daughter in Skagway, Alaska. Small town life suited Karen. She made many friends at the morning coffee and Elderberries Luncheon gatherings. Her witty retorts provided great entertainment. She loved walking around town, enjoying the random encounters brought during her daily strolls. It was a wonderful adventure filled with new friends and precious family time.
The name Karen means pure. It is a name that suited her well. She was a voice for those in need and a true example of what it means to be Christian. To love, to care. She was a good mom, a good person.
She is survived by her daughter, Wendy Anderson of Skagway, Alaska. Karen was preceded in death by her parents and her son, Eric David Anderson of Washington.