Karen M. Allen

Karen Marie Allen passed quietly surrounded by her family on Oct. 11, 2021 at her daughter’s home in Orlando, Florida, after having lived successfully with severe COPD for over a decade. Her family mourns her loss but celebrates the life that she lived.

Karen was born in Iowa City, Iowa on March 2, 1941 to Howard and Ellen Laux. She was the middle of nine children and grew up on farms throughout southeastern Iowa. She graduated from Richland High School (class of 1958) where she was a basketball player of considerable note. She was famous in her family for scoring 63 points in a single game. It was in Richland that she first met Fred, who would become her husband on Nov. 15, 1958 in Washington, Iowa.

Karen gave birth to her first child, Sheila, on Nov. 27, 1955, a day after her mother Ellen’s birthday. In what some would call a coincidence (others suspected pandering) she added to the family a boy, Eric, on Nov. 26, 1960, this time on her mother’s birthday. She shoots, she scores! Brenda was added to the family 22 months later, and Sandra was welcomed in 1967.

The family settled in Coralville and later Iowa City, Iowa. Karen spent the 1970s raising her rather spirited children. Karen also was an avid gardener, growing a spectacular crop of vegetables. She also busied herself with a collection of women friends who lived on 19th Avenue in Coralville.

In 1979, Karen and Fred moved to Sebring, Florida to enter into business with Karen’s brother, Bill Laux. It was there that Karen’s organizational skills were on full display. She ran the office of Taylor Rental with precise focus. She later led the effort to fully computerize the company, quite a feat considering she had no experience whatsoever with technology. As grandchildren began to arrive, it led Karen and Fred to retire to Orlando in 1996. They later added a home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to be near family in Iowa.

Karen was truly a matriarch. She adored her family of origin, her many siblings and their families. Fred was her heart; her children, her crown; her grandchildren, the jewels in that crown and her brand new great-grandson, the sparkle in those jewels. She never spoke of family values because she lived them with each beat of her heart. We will cherish the holiday festivities, the food, the laughter and the fellowship. Her generous heart and that smile as broad as the horizon will never be forgotten.

Karen was preceded in death by her mother and father; her brothers, Phillip and John; her daughter, Sheila; and son-in-law, Wayne. She is survived by her husband, Fred; her son, Eric; her daughters, Brenda (John Dreessen) and Sandra (Dan Justin); and her grandchildren, Sydney Krupski, Bond Harman, Kyle Dreessen, Megan Worell, Tory Harman, Kate Justin, and Sam Justin; and her great-grandson, Noah Krupski. She is also survived by her brothers, William and Douglas Laux, and sisters, Deanna Laux, Mary Hughes, Barbara Sondag and Debra Powell.

There will be a private celebration of Karen’s life in November. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you would consider making a donation to Gems of Hope of Cedar Rapids, an organization founded by Karen’s daughter Sheila that shares hope with cancer patients and their families. Online condolences can be shared at baldwincremation.com/obituaries/karen-allen/

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