Karyn Vee Weenig Madsen calmly took her last breath Wednesday, December 13, 2023, with her best friend and husband Joel by her side–it was so ideal, we suspect she planned the whole thing.
Always the organizer, Karyn never met a list she didn’t like.
From lesson plans to vacation itineraries, she reveled in details, all primed for efficiency and fun. After her stroke on the first of December, she gave us exactly 12 days to care for her—perking up at any mention of paying bills or giving and receiving “‘I love yous.” Then, she had places to go.
On her way, we wonder if Karyn made a stop in her beloved Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was born on February 11, 1947. As a do-er and a friend, she took after her parents: Melvin Alma Weenig whose life centered on serving others, and Georgia Henrietta Harmer Weenig who made every person she met feel that they mattered.
Karyn grew up as the only girl with three brothers, Paul, Lloyd, and Alan–who died in infancy. As a child, she never liked wearing shoes and she prayed for a sister. She picked up her love for music and her unfailing work ethic in her early teens. In high school, she excelled academically and socially, voted as All Around Senior Girl by her peers.
It was the summer after her freshman year studying elementary education at Brigham Young University that she met a lanky basketball player named Joel. He returned several nights to the Pocatello Sunset Drive-In to visit her as she worked, taking advantage of the 3 hour 40 minute running time of “The Ten Commandments.”
They married in the Salt Lake Temple on January 30, 1970, and spent the next 53 years together moving with military assignments and raising five daughters—finally, more girls in her life!
Though Karyn was actively engaged in leadership roles, including neighborhood, school, and political organizations, she cherished her role as a mother above all else. This was evidenced by her tackling a “Barbie” ballgown birthday cake, sewing five sets of Christmas jammies and Easter dresses for many years, chaperoning band tours–multiple times, helping her teens learn independence by “encouraging” them to make their own dentist appointments, and so much more.
Karyn quickly made friends in every place she lived, including Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, South Korea, New York, and Louisiana. She taught hundreds of children how to sing, dance, and appreciate different cultures in her professional roles as a performance group director and social studies teacher.
She considered her faith one of her greatest joys and served with devotion in every capacity to which she was called in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was especially known for the creative connections she used to illustrate gospel principles.
When Karyn retired after 15 years of teaching elementary school, she and Joel rode ATVs they named “Butternut” and “Pumpkin,” served as military liaisons in the Kentucky Louisville Mission, and volunteered in the Cache Valley community all while genuinely adoring and generously spoiling their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
To her, we say, "Aloha 'Oe, Karyn! We love you."
Karyn is survived by her husband, Joel; her five daughters, Angie Rasmussen (Travis), Lynde Mott (Randy), Jennifer Ashton (Tom), Jodie Gerdes, and Kimberly Day (Kyle); along with 14 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be Tuesday, December 19, at 11:00 a.m. at the Providence 6th LDS Ward building at 262 Canyon Road, Providence, Utah. A visitation will be held prior to the funeral from 9:00-10:30 a.m.
Karyn’s services can be viewed via Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84463014509
Click this link to view additional details about Karyn's Services: https://my.gather.app/remember/karyn-madsen