Karen Dendy, 74, of Bismarck, passed away May 26, 2021, at Sanford Hospital, Bismarck.
A Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 PM on Tuesday, June 1, 2021, at Weigel Funeral Home, Mandan, ND with Pastor Bob Nordvall as officiant. Burial will be at Mandan Union. Visitation will be held prior to service at Weigel Funeral Home
Karen was born on October 21, 1946, in Magnolia, Arkansas. She was the youngest child of Fred and Eleanor Harter, an oil man and a teacher. Karen was a blessing, and somewhat of a surprise, having been born ten years after the youngest of her three siblings. As a child, Karen’s confidence and energy were appropriately matched to her flaming red hair. Growing up the youngest in her family, Karen learned how to fend for herself and developed a close relationship with her parents, particularly her mother. Karen possessed a great appreciation for friends, family, and all that life has to offer.
Karen met the love of her life, Lew, at her hometown movie theater, and their love story includes two sons who stole the show. The story began in the summer of 1970 when Karen took a part-time job as a cashier at the movie theater a block from her home. Her first day on the job, she met a young projectionist and it was love at first sight, at least for him. After working very hard that summer to earn her affection, the fiery redhead married the young projectionist, beginning a marriage that would endure almost 50 years. Together, they raised a family, moved and traveled throughout the country, and stood by each other through the good times and the bad.
An avid learner, she soon became a passionate teacher, blessed to teach alongside her mother and then in classrooms of her own, with children who would forever leave imprints on her heart. Karen’s path to becoming a teacher likely began when she helped with the children at the first kindergarten in her town, which was founded by her mother. Karen was an elementary school teacher who never failed to go above and beyond for her students, which included her own children as they started school. When Karen’s body could no longer carry her into a classroom, she retired her teaching necklaces, yet continued to teach those of us around her how to love, appreciate life, laugh, and find enjoyment in even the smallest of things. She may not have always remembered whether she ate breakfast, but she never forgot to tell anyone how much they meant to her.
For anyone who knew Karen, one of her most predominant qualities was her intense love of friends, family, and all life has to offer. Although her body, and then her memory began to fail, she never forgot her love of friends and family and never stopped truly experiencing all the joy of life. One of those joys was music. Karen’s life was full of music, whether it was playing piano or singing in church choirs and the Sweet Adelines, or later listening to her children and grandchildren play in bands and orchestras and sing in choirs.
Karen’s gifts of grace live on in her brother Keith and his wife Sue; her husband Lew, sons Charlie and Khalin and their spouses Mandy and Tina; and the young ladies who brought her from her southern roots all the way to Bismarck so she could watch them grow and bloom like her beloved Magnolias – her granddaughters Madeliene, Lola, Alivia, Willow, Ana, and Isabella; as well as countless friends and former students. Karen was greeted in heaven by her beloved parents, older siblings Dean and Janet, and grandsons Wyatt and Eli.
Though our time with you has come to an end, you will never be forgotten by those whose lives you have touched.