Karen Marie Rolstad passed away peacefully at home on November 11, 2012 with Jan Reinsvold, her loving partner of 38 years at her side. Karen was born on June 1, 1938 to Julian and Marie Rolstad, much to the delight of her twelve year old brother Don.
Karen graduated from Bremerton High School in 1956, was a delegate to Girls State and an accompanist for the All State Choir as well as the Modernaires choir at the high school. Karen was awarded a music scholarship to the University of Puget Sound, where she accompanied the Adelphian Concert Choir on tour, was elected president of the national honor society Mortar Board, was a member of the music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, and where she received the prestigious Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges in recognition of her scholastic achievements. Karen earned her Bachelor of Arts in education with a minor in music from the University of Puget Sound in 1960.
Karen was an accomplished musician with mastery of the piano and pipe organ, and throughout her life Karen continued to practice and find her “bliss” while playing both instruments. Her professional calling though was in education. Karen fulfilled a dream of teaching third graders and then realized she had another dream that she needed to pursue which was to be a counselor in the public schools. While at the University of Washington, she was chosen for Phi Delta Theta, the education honorary and awarded a scholarship and earned her Master of Arts in counseling and college teaching in 1962. Karen’s approach to counseling was positively influenced by the client centered therapy approach espoused by Carl Rogers, whom she was privileged to meet. Karen began her counseling career at Cascade Junior High in 1963, and in 1968 moved to Hazen High School in Renton where she contributed to the formative development of this newly established school. Karen retired in 1996 after twenty-eight years as a counselor at Hazen, and was elected to the Hazen High School Hall of Fame. She loved her work and was pleased that her students understood and responded to her counseling philosophy. One of Karen’s favorite memories is of a student who, after learning of her pending retirement, asked “Who will love us now?” She felt it was a privilege to work with her students and she learned much from them.
Karen traveled a “grand tour” of Europe, visited Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland and the former Soviet Union. Karen’s favorite countries were Norway and Greece, where she and Jan were able to spend a month in each country. They also traveled to Hawaii and Sitka, Alaska where they studied with a Tlingit elder. After Jan retired in 2005, they joined the Pueblo community in Arizona where they were winter residents. Karen delighted in the community offerings and valued the many friendships.
The family is thankful for the positive energy provided over the last year by friends from South Africa, Japan, Australia, England, Greece/Cyprus, Germany, Canada and the United States. Karen is survived by her beloved life partner, Jan Reinsvold and her most loved dogs Mario and Tomas, and by nephews and nieces, Peter Rolstad, Sara Dotson, David Rolstad and Betsy Prehm.
A celebration of Karen’s life will take place on Sunday, November 18th at 11:00 a.m. at the Hazen High school Auditorium, 1101 Hoquiam Ave NE, Renton, WA 98059. In lieu of flowers, you may make a donation in Karen’s name to PAWS, Seattle Women’s Chorus or Providence Hospice of Seattle. To share a memory of Karen, please visit: https://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/657156