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Karen Marie Duffield Long

After living a full life, Karen Marie Duffield Long passed away in her sleep at the age of 82 on April 28, 2023, in Everett, Wash. Karen was welcomed into Heaven by her father, Chuck; mother, Mabel; sister-in-law Kay Duffield; and brother-in-law Skip Baxter.

Karen was the first of four children born to Charles and Mabel Duffield, and was born on Sept. 17, 1940, in Great Falls, Mont. In 1952, Karen and her family moved to an isolated Montana Power Company hydroelectric station, Mystic Lake, located in the Beartooth Mountains. It was a small community of eight families, a one-room schoolhouse, and 25 miles of dirt road leading to the nearest grocery store. The school only went as far as 8th grade, so Karen moved to Great Falls and lived with her grandparents for her first three years of high school.

In 1957, the family was reunited as they moved to Thompson Falls for Karen's senior year. They lived on a beautiful private island that joined the power plant and the dry channel dam. The only access to their home was a long, narrow, swinging bridge suspended from cables across the river, complete with a cheerful cowbell letting them know when guests were arriving. A wheelbarrow was always on hand for transporting groceries and giggling children.

Karen met her husband, Raymond Eugene Long, at Thompson Falls High School, and they later married on Sept. 2, 1961. Karen attended Columbus School of Nursing in Great Falls, graduating as a registered nurse on July 23, 1961.

Ray and Karen had two daughters: Cynthia Sue Long, born in August of 1962; and Kathleen Marie Long, born in October of 1963. The Long family moved to Seattle in 1967, where Karen began her nursing career on the oncology floor at Swedish Hospital. Ray and Karen divorced in 1982, and Ray transferred to California for his job as an electrical estimator. Karen remained in Seattle and switched positions from RN to unit secretary, and she continued serving on the oncology floor. She retired after working 37 years at Swedish Hospital, yet remained as a volunteer until she completed 40 years of service.

Karen was blessed with immeasurable talents and gifts. She was an amazing artist and had a passion for quilting, knitting, crocheting, tatting, varieties of stitcheries, and making handmade teddy bears. Her smallest bear is the size of a thimble and is fully jointed. Karen played piano and clarinet while growing up, and also enjoyed having season tickets to Benaroya Hall. Her love of music gave her joy throughout her life, even her last days.

She also loved visiting the zoo and ocean, reading, hiking, and especially loved animals and birds of all kinds, including several parakeets and canaries.

Karen was incredibly generous and found great joy in giving to others. She knit more than a hundred hats for the homeless as well as tiny hats for preemie babies born at Children's Hospital. She even gave of herself through a bone marrow transplant program and donated her bone marrow after matching with a female recipient.

Karen is survived by her sister Susie Baxter; brothers John (Kathleen) Duffield and Mike Duffield; daughters Cindy (Cecil) Spencer and Kathy (Ben) Staley; four grandchildren: Kelly, Courtney, Alex, and Chris; six great-grandchildren: Jocelyn, Maeryn, Nola, Cora, Finn, Charlie, his new sister on the way, plus numerous nieces and nephews.


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