MISSOULA — Karen Petersen Smith passed away in the night Aug. 2, 2019.

Karen was born at Thornton Hospital in Missoula on Feb. 13, 1938, to Lois and Aurthur Petersen. She went to Missoula public schools and was a cheerleader at Hawthorne school. She graduated from Missoula County High School in 1956. Karen was an elevator operator at the Florence building during high school and was a car hop at the Frontier Drive-In. Karen was also a clerk at a local bank soon after high school.

She attended the University of Montana, before moving to Tacoma, Washington, to work. From there she lived in California for a few years, returned to Tacoma and ultimately moved back to Polson in 1973. He attended the University of Montana again until 1978, studying early childhood development and education, art and pottery. Karen was a lifelong student and supporter of the arts.

In 1977 she met Kenneth H. Smith who was raising his daughters Heather and Kellie Smith. She married Ken on Dec. 8, 1978, and the family moved into a home on 12th Street. She worked for many years with sisters-in-law and friends at the 4Bs on East Broadway. In 1980 she and Ken bought their first home, where she lived until she retired from Eagle Satellite, and began life as a snowbird, traveling with "Butch" across the Southwest and the rest of the U.S. Karen loved the desert and lived in Casa Grande, Arizona, during the winter, and at her cabin on Flathead during the spring and summer months.

Karen never met a stranger and was loved by many for her genuine smile and attention. Karen loved and found the best in most everyone she met. She loved children and was a favorite of her three grandchildren, her nieces, nephews, and grandnieces and grandnephews. She loved walking and hiking and being along the shore of Flathead Lake.

Karen was preceded in death by her mother and father, her beloved grandmother Netta and Ruben Oeder, and is survived by her husband Ken, daughters Heather and Kellie (David Schwartzman), sister Kathie (Tom Newgard), brother Roger, grandchildren Warren, Will and Hannah Smith, as well as her niece and nephew Tara and Kory and their families. 

Karen will be dearly missed by many friends and family. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17 at Grace United Methodist Church at 1756 S. 10th St. W. at 11 a.m. Luncheon and fellowship will follow at the church.

Sign up for our obituaries newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.