Karen Larsen Vanfleet
Karen Larsen Vanfleet, our dear mother, wife, sister, and friend, died October 14, 2021, due to complications from COVID-19.
She was born to Allan Franklin Larsen and Barbara Grace Elswood on July 31, 1962, in Blackfoot, Idaho. She attended Snake River High School and Ricks College before transferring to BYU, where she met her husband, James Parker Vanfleet in 1982. They were married and sealed in the Idaho Falls, Idaho temple on July 5, 1983. She received a Master of Music degree specializing in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Utah in 1991.
Her love of God, family, friends, and music would continue as interwoven melodies throughout her life. She gave highest priority and love to her work as wife and mother and later as grandmother. She loved God and never shirked the opportunity to serve, most recently serving three years with her husband as a Bishopric member in a local Young Single Adult Ward.
In 2010, after her children all graduated, she shifted from stay-at-home mom to work full time as a configuration manager and F-16 software program manager for the 309 Software Engineering Group at Hill AFB. One of the highlights of her time with the Air Force was flying in an F-16 at Eglin AFB in Florida.
Her love of adventure and speed and her willingness to try new things always made her the “cool grandma.” She was planning to retire with her husband at the end of this year. She worked hard and was always striving toward a new goal or perfecting a new hobby.
In her later life, she was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and later breast cancer. Despite her health challenges, Karen maintained an active lifestyle. She always trusted in the Lord and allowed hardship to strengthen her faith. The sustaining power of Christ’s Atonement through life's trials will shine as her legacy for many generations and is expressed by these lyrics of “Be Strong,” a song she composed:
Be strong, for the Lord my God will help me!
Have great courage for I know the Lord is near!
I am lifted by His Grace.
I will grasp His outstretched hand.
Without fear I will go forth and with faith I will stand!
She is survived by her husband, James, her children: Teresa and Eric Barndt, Jacob and Betsy Vanfleet, and Joshua and Michelle Vanfleet; her grandchildren: Evelyn (6), Helen (5), Samuel (4), Noah (2), Parker (2), and Lydia (due Oct 23rd).
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, October 21, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at the Creekside Stake Center, 1480 W Phillips Street, Kaysville, Utah. Friends may visit also with family Wednesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary, 1867 No. Fairfield Rd., Layton, Utah and Thursday from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the church before the service.
The proceedings will be live streamed for any who wish to participate virtually at:
Interment to follow the service at Lindquist’s Memorial Park at Layton.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked donations in Karen’s memory be made to the Arthritis National Research Foundation at curearthritis.org.