Obituary for Karen (Weed) Tipp
Karen Gayle (Weed) Tipp, 78, passed away Thursday, March 30, 2017 surrounded by her entire family.
Karen was born on October 4, 1938, in Crookston, Minnesota to Dr. Vernon A. & Marjorie (Kundert) Weed. Karen’s very early years were spent in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota, and then Kalispell. At the outbreak of World War II Karen lived for brief periods in Denver and Kansas City, before her father was shipped out for active duty in Europe.
At that time, Karen moved with her mother to live with her maternal grandmother in Red Lake Falls, eventually settling in Bigfork in the summer of 1944. From then until the end of the war, Karen remained in Bigfork living with four generations under one roof – Karen, her mother, her paternal grandmother and her great-grandmother.
Upon Dr. Weed’s return home after WWII Karen lived with her parents in Kalispell, before being joined by her brother, Alvern, in 1948.
Karen attended Flathead County High School, graduating with the storied class of 1956. While a member of the Flathead County High School band, she earned Superior ratings in percussion at State music festivals. During three of those years the band led the parade at the Spokane Lilac Festivals, and in 1955 was the first United States Honor Band invited to lead the Calgary Stampede parade. She was one of a handful of Flathead County High School Band Members invited to participate in a special performance with the United States Air Force Band.
Other band highlights included playing “Hail to the Chief” for two sitting U.S. Presidents – President Truman at the dedication of the Hungry Horse Dam, and President Eisenhower at the dedication of the Smokejumper’s Center in Missoula. At each event, the presidents walked within ten feet of Karen’s percussion section before ascending the stairs to the stages for the dedications.
After graduating from FCHS, Karen began college at the University of Minnesota, where she was an active member of the Tau chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi. Karen completed Associate Degrees in Science, Literature and Art, at the University of Minnesota before transferring to the University of Montana in 1959. It was at the University of Montana where Karen met, and shortly thereafter married, Raymond Tipp. Karen and Ray had three children, Lynda, Bryan and Ron, and became well established in Missoula.
Karen never abandoned her love of music. She fondly remembered many fun and happy times spent “jamming” with friends at the family home in Missoula. Karen was very active in a wide variety of family, civic and personal activities. She was a Brownie and Girl Scout Leader, a Cub Scout Den Mother. She served on the Western Montana Health and Education Council and was very active in the International Toastmistress Club – holding offices at the local, council and regional levels, and serving as a Representative to the International Convention. During these years, Karen was an advocate for the Diabetic and Epilepsy Foundations. She served as an adjudicator for Speech and Debate meets at the University of Montana. But, one of her most treasured achievements were earning her pilot’s license in 1966.
Karen later earned a certification in Interior Design from New York University, and pursued a career for many years in Interior Design in Missoula, and later Billings and Spokane. As a partner in the Vick Gallery in downtown Missoula, Karen was active in the Missoula downtown Community at a time when much of the retail market was migrating to Missoula’s Southside. Karen purchased reproduction rights for several original oil paintings by Marv Enes, having limited edition prints reproduced in Seattle and marketed nationally and internationally. Karen was a member of the interior Design Society and a Charter Member of the Northwest Society of Interior Designers.
Following an early retirement from Interior Design, and returning to Missoula, Karen served as Foster Grandparent for third graders at Lowell and Hawthorn Schools while also working at Riverside Health Care Center. Karen found great enrichment and fulfillment in both.
Karen was a voracious reader, she enjoyed entertaining, crafts, scrapbooking, word games, creative writing (especially poetry) and celebrating Christmas all through the month of December. Sharing her heritage with family and friends at Swan Lake were of utmost importance to Karen. She was always welcoming and relished every opportunity to share the joys, special times, bonding and appreciation for what she termed: “All that is.”
Karen had a large, diverse and overlapping friendship circle, with whom she enjoyed camaraderie, coffee and cards (bridge and canasta in particular.) It would be impossible to adequately express the value she placed on these many, many friends, or the sorrow she experienced as her circles began to contract through friends passing, or relocating for various reasons. Still, she continued to faithfully nurture these associations through her yearly Christmas letters, that have been cherished by many.
She enjoyed travelling with her children and friends. She was particularly fond of the family road trip to the east coast and Canada in 1975, and her European vacation with Lynda in the 1980s. She was particularly grateful to Ray for funding this trip abroad for her and Lynda, even though she and Ray had divorced several years earlier.
Many older Missoulians will remember her exploits to British Columbia and elsewhere with the late Evelyn King, which Ms. King faithfully recounted in her regular Missoulian column. After retirement, Karen continued to enjoy family trips with her grandchildren – whether up to Swan Lake or elsewhere – or the short hops she could make to Coeur d’Alene to spend time with her dear friend Margaret.
Karen is predeceased by her father and mother, Dr. V.A. Weed and Marjorie Joyce (Kundert) Weed. Karen is survived by her children: Lynda Butler, Bryan (Lori) and Ron (Jen) all of Missoula. Grandchildren: Elle, Madalyn, and Wade Butler; Caleb, Carly and Carson Tipp; Natalie and McCall Tipp and Max and Zoey Tanner. Karen is also survived by her brother, Alvern Weed (Barbara) of Kalispell, and their three children, Katie, Kelsey & Alex. Karen is also survived by numerous cousins in the Flathead, Minnesota, Hawaii, Washington, Canada and elsewhere.
Arrangements are under the direction of Rick Evans at Garden City Funeral Home in Missoula. Services for Karen will take place at Garden City Funeral Home at 1705 W. Broadway, Missoula, at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 5, with a reception to follow. Viewing on Wednesday, April 5, at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home, 525 S. Main St., Kalispell, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Interment, 11:00 Thursday Morning, April 6, 2017 at the Conrad Memorial Cemetery in Kalispell.
In lieu of flowers, Karen suggested a donation to the Central School Museum in Kalispell, or a charity of the donor’s choice.