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Karen Louise Hamilton

October 6, 1940 November 27, 2019
Karen Louise Hamilton
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Obituary for Karen Louise Hamilton

Obituary – Karen Louise Hamilton

Karen Louise (Johnston) Hamilton was born on October 6, 1940, on a farm near Grand River, Iowa, the oldest child of Elmer and Edna (Bowen) Johnston. Karen was a caregiver from an early age, helping to take care of her seven brothers and sisters. Karen’s siblings are Leroy (1942-1965), Larry (1943-1984), Shirley (Kenny) Barton, Eldon (Judy), Marilyn (Joe) Hodge, Carolyn (Gary) Rebel, and Betty (Monte 1950-2016) Tschetter. Throughout the years Karen had special and loving relationships with all of her siblings and loved to spend time with each of them. She always looked forward to her "sister weekends" when they would laugh, love, and enjoy each other’s company.
After Karen graduated from Martinsville, Missouri High School, she moved to Bethany, Missouri to work as a nurse’s aide at Reed Hospital, then, while working as a waitress at the Blue Bird Café, she met Leonard Hamilton. They were married at Lone Rock Church on October 3, 1959. Leonard loved all of Karen's brothers and sisters and they often stayed with them from the time they were married.
In 1960, Karen and Leonard welcomed Kathleen Sue into their life followed in 1963, by Kenneth Roy, and in 1967, by Russell Warren. When Kathy was a baby, they purchased a farm in Harrison County, Missouri that they would call home until 2005. Karen worked on the farm milking cows, raising chicken, hogs, and a big garden every year. Karen was a great cook and could put a meal on the table in a matter of minutes. Starting with her canned vegetables, frozen fruits, homegrown beef and pork, and homemade bread she not only cooked for her family, she fed many a hungry hay crew. Everyone was welcome at her table where there was always dessert - fruit pies, homemade donuts, cinnamon rolls, or chocolate cake.
Karen and Leonard loved having visitors come to the farm. They took everyone to the barn to watch them milk, or see the calves, pigs, and kittens. They also enjoyed showing others how to work the land. For many years family and friends gathered there to hunt, shoot fireworks, and just enjoy the country life. They really enjoyed the summers that Matt spent at the farm. Karen had a special connection with grandchildren, Tanya and Matt, especially after Kathy’s death, she was a second mom to them.
At Christmas she made fudge, divinity, orange slice cake, and many other sweet treats that she shared with friends and neighbors. Karen loved Christmas. She started shopping in January to buy gifts for her family and friends.
Karen was baptized at the Pleasanton United Methodist Church where she taught Sunday School and led Vacation Bible School for many years. Later she and Leonard joined the Davis City United Methodist Church where she loved being a part of the fellowship and helping with the Harvest Dinners.
As the children were growing up there was a need for Karen to earn extra income, so she ran for and was elected as the Clay Township Tax Collector, a position she held for over thirty-four years. Karen was dedicated to the people of Clay Township, often spending each Saturday in December at Ross's Hardware. She not only collected taxes, but visited with many friends.
For many years Karen managed the concession stand and boat rental business at Nine Eagles State Park. She was known for her banana soft serve ice cream and her friendly smile that greeted the same customers year after year. When the concession stand closed for the winter, she worked at Radio Shack and later she began classes as a tax preparer for H&R Block. She loved preparing taxes and had many people request that only she complete their tax returns. Karen retired from H & R Block after over 20 years of service so she could dedicate all her time working as a Tourism Guide at the Iowa Welcome Center. Over the years Karen also worked at Pro-Com, Lamoni Products, and Shelton’s Fireworks.
Karen's love for people was a perfect match for her position at the Welcome Center...she was paid to talk to people all day and especially enjoyed working with Jerry Reese, who was like a son to her. Karen would often take her grandchildren to work with her and delighted in teaching them about customer service while helping them to discover all that Iowa had to offer. Karen retired from the State of Iowa in 2011, so she could help take care of Leonard following his stroke.
Karen went to the nursing home every day to be with Leonard and they delighted in the days that he felt well enough for her to take him out for a car ride. When Leonard passed away in January of 2012, her heart was broken. As she was starting to heal, her beloved daughter, Kathy, passed away in 2013, followed by her dad's passing in 2014, and her niece, Jody, and her mom in 2015. Karen also grieved the loss of granddaughter, Stefani Raye, four brothers-in-law, Doyle, Charles, Todd, and Monte, and many more family and friends.

Karen sought comfort and healing from all her grief and loss by serving others. She was very involved in her church, Bible Studies, and as a volunteer in the gift shop at the Decatur County Hospital. In addition, she worked many funeral dinners at the Davis City Community center and was always willing to visit and help others along the way.
Karen was always busy. Over the years she spent many hours crocheting afghans, embroidering tea-towels, pillowcases, and projects such as the Lord's prayer and Ten Commandments, just to name a few. Many people were the recipients of her beautiful handiwork. Karen had a beautiful flower garden that she constantly added plants to, yet she was always willing to share a plant with anyone. Karen always loved to read and later spent many hours on her I-Pad, learning how to keep in touch through FaceTime, Facebook, text, and email. Karen talked on the phone by the hour, there were many people that she checked on every day.
Karen had a special place in her heart for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She would do almost anything for them! Wanting them to feel special and loved each time they visited, she would buy the grandchildren special treats and was always looking for things she could do for them or buy them for Christmas.
When Karen was diagnosed with cancer she was determined to never give up and took a few rounds of chemo. When it became clear that the chemo was worse for her than the cancer, she stopped all treatments and went home to live. In the last season of life, she had many people visit. She always looked forward to seeing her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, other family, and friends. Karen treasured the times Eldon and Judy stayed with her (she called them her favorite house guests) and spoke often of their trip to California. She always loved spending time with Ken and Russ as well as having more "sister weekends". She would often choose to cook for her guests, and many went home with a special angel from her collection. Karen was very committed to making sure her prized possession had a good home and continued to volunteer and do all that she could until her body no longer allowed.
Karen spent the last days of her life here on earth surrounded by family. When she left our presence, on November 27, 2019, there was a huge family reunion in heaven as she joined the people that she had loved and cared for here on earth. Karen is survived by her sons, Ken (DeAnne) and Russ (Theresa) Hamilton; son-in-law, Gene Hatfield; grandchildren, Tanya (Bruce), Matthew (Jamie), Jeanann (Rick), Jessica (Zane), Jamie, Greg (Allison), Grant (friend Josyenne), Meghan (Cale), Rachel (Josh), and Joseph; great grandchildren, Caitlin, Danielle, Isaac, Noah, Micah, Kaylin, Emmett, Clay, Dale, Ally, Emma, Brandi, and Natali; sisters; brother; sisters-in-laws, Patty, Marcia, Janiece, Lori, and Donella; brothers-in-law, Kenny, Joe, and Gary; cousins; and many friends.
The family wishes to thank Comfort Care Hospice of Cameron, Missouri. Memorials can be made to the Decatur County Hospital Auxiliary for a Karen Hamilton Memorial Scholarship for nursing students.




Funeral services will be held at the Slade – O’Donnell Funeral Home in Leon, Iowa at 11 a.m. Saturday, November 30, 2019, with Pastor Neil Montz and Russ Hamilton officiating. Burial will be in the Davis City Cemetery, Davis City, Iowa.


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Previous Events

Visitation

Saturday

30

Nov

10:00 AM 11/30/2019 10:00:00 AM - 11:00 AM 11/30/2019 11:00:00 AM
Slade-O'Donnell Funeral Home - Leon

103 NE Mill Street
Leon, IA 50144

Family will receive friends 10-11 a.m.

Slade-O'Donnell Funeral Home - Leon
103 NE Mill Street Leon 50144 IA
United States

Service

Saturday

30

Nov

11:00 AM 11/30/2019 11:00:00 AM
Slade-O'Donnell Funeral Home - Leon

103 NE Mill Street
Leon, IA 50144

Slade-O'Donnell Funeral Home - Leon
103 NE Mill Street Leon 50144 IA
United States

Cemetery Details

Location

Davis City Cemetery Final Resting Place

Davis City, IA

Davis City IA
United States

Memorial Contribution

Decatur County Hospital Auxiliary for Karen Hamilton Memorial Scholarship

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