Karen Dawn Losinski
July 9, 1956-Oct. 23, 2013
Born July 9, 1956 in Portland, Karen passed away from a cancer of unknown origin on Oct. 23, 2013, at the age of 57. She was at home in Brookings with immediate family by her side.
Karen grew up with three brothers supported by both parents. She felt fortunate to have parents who loved the outdoors and took the kids camping, hunting, and fishing at every opportunity. Her ability to catch fish and be a crack shot were second-to-none. Karen had the gifts of cooking and establishing “home” wherever she was.
At the tender age of 16, Karen wed Donald Fawver and bore a son. Being abandoned after one year and then divorced, Karen then met Wally Hamilton, bore a son, and raised both boys while traveling with various logging shows and living off the land.
Her fondest memories as a mother were taking her boys into the woods and teaching them skills that supplemented their lives.
Seeing the end coming to her 18-year marriage, Karen took up nursing, following in the footsteps of her aunts, Edna and Minnie. She graduated as a registered nurse from Clackamas Community College, bought a brand new 1989 Honda Civic, divorced and, in 1993, took her very first airplane ride to Alaska.
Karen fell in love with the rugged and wild beauty of Alaska, often saying how much she felt what Alaska had to offer. She packed up everything and drove to Fairbanks in August 1994.
During her moving around to various places of lodging, Karen met her latest landlord and future husband. Their friendship ignited like a forest fire that soon found them fulfilling each other’s wish to work on their bucket lists.
Karen spent her last 17 years with Joe, helping to raise his three children, experience the birth of her grandkids in Alaska, remodel three houses and build a house from scratch. The couple honeymooned and fished in Costa Rica, vacationed in the Hawaiian Islands, explored the Mayan ruins, drank Nicaraguan coffee, sipped Venezuelan rum and observed air-refueling action over the Pacific ocean. Karen learned to live the life of a military spouse.
Being the amazing woman Karen was, she proved herself the consummate professional in every aspect of the nursing profession. She worked the field of Oncology early on and received accolades on her teaching skills. In Alaska, Karen worked long-term patient care, then onto outpatient care. She paved the way in community care throughout Fairbanks. Karen undertook the challenge of managing the Home Health Care and the Home Medical Equipment departments.
Aside from her ability to succeed up the career ladder, Karen’s academic skills were superior and proven in her ability to obtain the General Nursing Practice certification by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
Karen stood by her husband when the difficult decision was made to move due to his health condition being exacerbated by the arctic winters. When offered a staff nurse position working for the local VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic, Karen helped move to Brookings. She helped the clinic pass their first Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) inspection and fulfilled many of the managerial duties — even those her contract did not specify.
Karen’s upbeat, positive personality and beautiful smile will be sorely missed. There was one message she wished to convey to all women — “When pain starts to move from its primary spot, get an examine by your primary health care doctor immediately.”
Survivors include her husband Joseph H. Losinski of Brookings; sons Donald and Jeremy; five grandchildren; and brothers “Bill,” Jeff, and Mark, all from the Portland area.
Karen donated her body to science through MedCure, Inc. in Portland.
The family will host a private remembrance social in Portland next month.
Submitted by Joe.