Karen Swenson

Obituary of Karen Grace Swenson

Please share a memory of Karen to include in a keepsake book for family and friends.

Karen Grace Swenson, who had a vivacious, vibrant personality, embraced life with open arms and a mischievous grin, passed away on April 11th, 2024 at the age of 65. To those who knew her best, she was the original “Karen” - outspoken, unapologetic, and overflowing with charisma.


Born on December 15th, 1958 in Southern California to Melvin and Sheila Parker, Karen came into this world with a flair for the dramatic. She was raised alongside her older siblings Jeff and Laurie, and younger brother Lance, in a boisterous household that fostered her competitive spirit and love for athletics, particularly track and field.


In her youth, Karen could often be found at lively Van Halen concerts in Pasadena before the band achieved global fame, or soaking up the sun with friends on the beach. After relocating to Washington state in 1976, fate intervened when she met the love of her life, Kermit Swenson, in Washougal. Their whirlwind romance led to marriage and a move to Camas, where they purchased their first home and started a family, raising three children: Kyle, Krystal, and Karl. Ever the enterprising spirit, Karen and her sister Laurie attended Manning’s Magee Bros. School of Beauty in Vancouver before opening the popular “Scissor Sisters” full-service hair salon in the local one-stop shopping center in 1994. It was here that Karen’s signature hairstyle, the iconic “Karen” cut, was said to have originated.


A talented cook with a generous heart, Karen’s home was a lively gathering place where she delighted in feeding anyone and everyone who gathered around her table. Her backyard pool became the hot spot for neighborhood children throughout the summers. She was a gifted storyteller, amusing all who would listen with tales -- some embellished with her trademark “Karen twist,” but always entertaining.


Karen was preceded in death by her beloved husband Kermit in 2016, and her parents Melvin and Sheila. She leaves behind a legacy of laughter, a life lived abundantly, and a multitude of loved ones including her siblings, children, 9 grandchildren, numerous nieces and nephews.


Those who knew and loved Karen can attest that the world has grown a little quieter, but considerably more colorful, due to the force of nature that was her life. Karen had a heart of gold and she will be dearly missed.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Karen Swenson, please visit Tribute Store

Funeral Service

1:00 pm
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
Bethel Community Church
1438 B St.
Washougal, Washington, United States
Online Memory & Photo Sharing Event
Online Event
About this Event
Karen Swenson

In Loving Memory

Karen Swenson

1958 - 2024

Look inside to read what others have shared
Family and friends are coming together online to create a special keepsake. Every memory left on the online obituary will be automatically included in this book.
Share Your Memory of