Cover photo for Karen Sue Johnson's Obituary
Karen Sue Johnson Profile Photo
1940 Karen 2020

Karen Sue Johnson

June 24, 1940 — September 17, 2020

Karen Sue (Dolan) Johnson died September 17, 2020, in her snowbird home, La Quinta CA, attended by her loving family.

She was born June 24, 1940 in Provo, UT to Iowa natives Victor and Irene (Dougherty) Dolan. The family, including older brother Patrick, settled in Salina, KS where Karen attended Sacred Heart Grade School, graduating from Sacred Heart High School in 1958.

Her parents and Patrick preceded her in death. Survivors include daughter Holly Johnson, La Quinta CA, granddaughters Megan (and Jake) Van Geffen, Raleigh, SC and Riley Huebner, San Luis Obispo, CA, and her son Greg and his wife, Lisa Johnson, and Charlie, Carl, Phillip and Garrett of Manchester, MI. Karen is also survived by her sisters, Janelle Downs, Paola KS and Vicki Jacobson, Manhattan KS and sister-in-law Bobbie Lamone Dolan, Palm Springs CA.

After high school, she was a secretary at International Milling in Salina, then moved to Denver where she worked for KBTV. She married Don W Johnson in 1963 in Salina. Eventually they settled in rural Solano County, California, creating successful vineyards on former orchard acreage.

Karen lovingly shared her skills by making delicious jellies and pies, beautiful cross-stitch, crochet and needlepoint creations, hand-sewn teddy bears, and Christmas stockings.

After a divorce, she relocated to Ketchum, then Hailey. As a member of Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church, Ketchum, she enjoyed making scones and nut bread for the Hospitality after Mass. She held a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and silently prayed the rosary as she voluntarily sat with hospice patients.

She considered Idaho her home and appreciated the natural beauty and community of the Wood River Valley, an appreciation which perpetuates in her children and grandchildren. Christmas Eve ice shows, sleigh rides, drives looking for elk herds, shopping at the Gold Mine and attending the Sun Valley Jazz and Music Festival are beloved memories that will live on. She happily served as prom dress shopper and hairdresser for each loving granddaughter. “Gram” was an unrivaled friend who will be greatly missed.

Karen enjoyed traveling, and treasured trips back to Kansas and Iowa, visiting friends, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Her determined fight against cancer served her well, as her loved ones gained 15 precious years with her. May Karen's Irish sense of humor linger forever in the lives of her family, and help carry us past the sad times to cherished memories.

A rosary vigil service will be Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 3:00 pm. at Our Lady of the Snows, Ketchum. Visitation will follow. The funeral Mass is Thursday, Nov 12 at 1:00 pm at the church, with Rev. Justin Brady as Celebrant. Interment will follow in the Ketchum Cemetery, under the care of Wood River Chapel.

Memorials may be directed to the hospice facility of donor's choice, or to S.T.P.A.T.S., a preservation society, 420 E Patrick St, Dougherty IA 50433. Please visit to share a condolence, story or photo with Karen’s family.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen Sue Johnson, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Starts at 1:00 pm

Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church

, Sun Valley, ID 83353

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