Karen was born on December 9, 1948 at the Twin Falls Hospital to Isaac Mason “Mace” Popplewell and Agnes Zurek Popplewell. Karen and older sister, Sharon grew up in Buhl, Idaho experiencing life in the 1950’s and 60’s, with family gatherings being paramount.
She was voted Most School Spirit for the Buhl High School Class of 1966. She carried this spirit throughout her life with everything she did. She had been a passionate seller of Longaberger and Stampin’ Up products and was always over the top with Christmas decorating and family gatherings. She was the hostess with the most-est.
Karen graduated from Idaho State University with her teaching degree and the College of Idaho with her Master’s in Counseling. She used that knowledge and her passion for learning to teach and counsel throughout her career. She worked in Twin Falls, Filer, and Mountain Home, Idaho helping to guide the younger generation. One of her mentors and valued friends was the outstanding educator, J. Howard Moon at Filer High School. Karen carried a teacher’s presence even decades after retiring.
In addition, she was bright, loved animals, and was always positive in nature. She was so very proud of the Popplewell name and the educational careers that many in the Popplewell family had undertaken. Like all of us, Karen experienced some tough times in her life journey, but they shaped her into the person she became. Through Alcoholics Anonymous, Karen met her future husband, Fredrick R. Graves, and they both remained sober thereafter. Fred had served in Vietnam with the AC-119 and Karen was incredibly supportive of her military husband. They were married on April 2, 1987. They were a fantastic match and had many adventures and laughs. They are finally now back together.
Karen is survived by her older sister, Sharon Johnston; half-brother, Maurice Miller; Fred’s children, Vicki (Steve) Bechter of Barstow, California; and Freddy Graves of Washington State; Karen’s nephew, Mark (Heidi Adams) Johnston; her niece, Sheri (Scott Keller) Johnston; Fred’s grandchildren, Carly, Cammy, and MacyRae Bechter and Colton Graves, great-nieces & nephews, Ashley, Sarah, and Dominique Johnston, Ivy and Cassie Campbell; cousins, Ted (Lynn) Popplewell and their sons and families, John (Patsy) Popplewell of Portland, Oregon; and many more loving relatives. Additionally, Karen is survived by many of Fred’s combat and AC-119 brothers, notably, Wayne (Lynette) Laessig. Although Karen had no children of her own, she will always be fondly remembered by all her extended family.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred; parents, Agnes and Mason; brother-in-law, Bill Johnston, and many beloved family members and fur babies.
The family would like to thank Chardonnay Assisted Living for being so accommodating when she moved in, taking such great care of her, and giving her a wonderful home during her stay. We would also like to thank Anita and Lael with Auburn Crest Hospice Services, for your wonderful care and compassion during her final days.
Karen has requested that there be no formal service.
She was a proud military wife and will be inter alongside Fred at the Snake River National Cemetery in Buhl, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Popplewell Family Scholarship c/o the Buhl School Foundation at 920 Main Street, Buhl, Idaho 83316 or to Friends Furever Animal Rescue, at 218 11th Ave. E. Jerome, Idaho 83338.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family on Karen’s memorial webpage at www.farmerfuneralchapel.com.
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