Our sister, Karen Sue Dykstra, 56, died suddenly in her sleep at her home in Brigham City, Utah on May 19, 2022. She was born in Ogden, Utah on June 2, 1965, to Martha and Philip Dykstra and was the youngest of seven children raised in Brigham City. The family enjoyed camping trips and skiing together during their childhood. Karen loved swimming and was on the high school swim team. She graduated from Box Elder High School in 1983 and worked on a ranch in Wilson, Wyoming for the next two summers.
In 1989, after attending the University of Utah and Weber State College, Karen joined the Navy and proudly retired after 20 years. Her naval career tours as a machinist’s mate, with an oxygen/nitrogen specialty, took her to Orlando, Florida; Great Lakes, IL; San Francisco, California; Portsmouth, Virginia; Sigonella, Sicily, Italy; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; San Diego, California; Millington, TN; and finally, again in San Diego, CA. She absolutely loved San Diego!
One of the highlights of her career came in 1990, when she was assigned to the hospital ship USNS Mercy. She was deployed to the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm to provide medical support to Allied multinational forces. Eight months later, the USNS Mercy returned to her homeport with a huge welcome in San Francisco Bay. When she finally brought The Mercy down to earth in Oakland, CNN captured and broadcast the emotionally charged surprise reunion with her mother and sister, Ann.
In 1999, Karen proudly graduated with an associate degree from Chaminade University in Honolulu while stationed in Hawaii. Additionally, during this time, she had the honor of having her brother-in-law, Dave, who was a naval officer, swear her in to re-enlist in the navy at Kailua Beach before moving to his next place of residence. assignment.
While in Millington, Tennessee, as well as San Diego, she was active in the Navy Surface Warfare Association, with women who were part of WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and received an award service for his dedication and volunteerism.
During Karen’s retirement in 2011, she moved with her beloved dog and constant companion Morgan, to Brigham City to care for her mother, Martha, whose health had begun to decline. Karen’s dedication and the love she showed her mother allowed Martha to continue living in her home longer than she could have without Karen’s care.
After moving to Utah, her love of animals inspired Karen to enroll at Broadview University in Layton and earn an associate’s degree as a veterinary technician.
In 2017, after living in Layton for a few years, she bought a new house and moved back to Brigham City. Shortly after moving in, she threw a lovely housewarming party and even hired a harpist to serenade the guests. Neighbors frequently encountered Karen walking Morgan and striking up a conversation with them. In recent months, she has been seen walking her new puppy, Lily.
In her spare time, she enjoyed doing embroidery and puzzles while being passionate about NASCAR racing! She loved to travel and recently took a cruise to Alaska and went to New England to see the fall colors.
Her love of animals, sense of humor, laughter, kindness and generosity will be truly missed by all whose lives she touched.
She is survived by her brothers and sisters; Joni (Zubin Emsley) Bob (Elaine), John, Mark (Janene), Ann, Mary Feten (Dave); mother-in-law, Nancy Dykstra; stepsisters; Ann Davis (Darren) and Jeannette Carpenter, 13 nieces and nephews and 3 great-nieces. She was predeceased by her parents, Martha Dykstra and Philip Dykstra, and her beloved dog Morgan.
In lieu of flowers, you can donate to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or The Bull Terrier National Rescue.
Funeral Mass will be held at St. Henry’s Catholic Church, Brigham City (380 South 200 East) on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 11:00 a.m.
Brigham City Cemetery
Next Reception: St. Henry’s Catholic Church Hall