Karen Kay Kalina - Farrow, 81, passed away on February 17, 2024.

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She was born on December 29, 1942 to Viola and Donald Kalina where she was raised on the Kalina Farm in Benton Heights and attended Benton Harbor High School where she was a majorette with the marching band and cherry pie queen.

She resided in Richmond, Virginia where she started an interior design and furniture business that has flourished for more than 40 years.

Although Karen started out a modest farm girl her strong roots and fortitude led her to great success as an independent businesswoman. Faced with many challenges and obstacles over the years including several bouts with cancer, she overcame these and set the example for her loving children who couldn't be prouder of her accomplishments.

She will be greatly missed by family and friends including sons: David Creed and Christopher Tanner; daughter, Heather Karl; granddaughter, Catelyn Creed and grandsons, Nicholas and Alex Karl; her sister Wendy Kalina (Christians) and many, many friends across the country.

Family

  • Survived By
  • David Creed, Son
  • Christopher Tanner, Son
  • Wendy Christians, Sister
  • Heather Karl, Daughter

Life Story Info

Author

David Creed

Post Date

Feb 20, 2024

Personal Info

Born

Benton Harbor, Michigan, United States

Age

81

Lived

  • Richmond, Virginia, United States

Worked For

  • Entreprenuer
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Guestbook

I met Karen almost 25 years ago when she called responding to a flyer I had left in her mailbox. I was 18 years old and starting my cleaning business. I cleaned for her for many years off and on, I also hosted some of her formal parties and helped her in her store. I always loved to decorate and with Karen's influence i am quite good at it. Still to this day I find myself strategically placing things just the way I know she would. Karen taught me many things that have stuck with me through the years. She was a big influence in my life. She was a strong, fierce, independent, hardworking, bad ass woman, one who spoke her mind and at times had no filter. I loved her dearly. I would always call to check on her periodically when she would cross my mind. She had been on my mind for weeks but I hadn't called until the other day. Unfortunately I was to late. When I heard Heather's voice answer the phone I just knew. I wish I had called a little sooner. I am deeply saddened by her loss and will miss her dearly. I will also never forget her the things she taught me or the influence she had in my life. Prayers for her family.

Maria Noel , Louisa, VA, US Mar 17, 2024

I met Karen almost 25 years ago when she called responding to a flyer I had left in her mailbox. I was 18 years old and starting my cleaning business. I cleaned for her for many years off and on, I also hosted some of her formal parties and helped her in her store. I always loved to decorate and with Karen's influence i am quite good at it. Still to this day I find myself strategically placing things just the way I know she would. Karen taught me many things that have stuck with me through the years. She was a big influence in my life. She was a strong, fierce, independent, hardworking, bad ass woman, one who spoke her mind and at times had no filter. I loved her dearly. I would always call to check on her periodically when she would cross my mind. She had been on my mind for weeks but I hadn't called until the other day. Unfortunately I was to late. When I heard Heather's voice answer the phone I just knew. I wish I had called a little sooner. I am deeply saddened by her loss and will miss her dearly. I will also never forget her the things she taught me or the influence she had in my life. Prayers for her family.

Maria Noel , Louisa, VA, US Mar 17, 2024

I met Karen almost 25 years ago when she called responding to a flyer I had left in her mailbox. I was 18 years old and starting my cleaning business. I cleaned for her for many years off and on, I also hosted some of her formal parties and helped her in her store. I always loved to decorate and with Karen's influence i am quite good at it. Still to this day I find myself strategically placing things just the way I know she would. Karen taught me many things that have stuck with me through the years. She was a big influence in my life. She was a strong, fierce, independent, hardworking, bad ass woman, one who spoke her mind and at times had no filter. I loved her dearly. I would always call to check on her periodically when she would cross my mind. She had been on my mind for weeks but I hadn't called until the other day. Unfortunately I was to late. When I heard Heather's voice answer the phone I just knew. I wish I had called a little sooner. I am deeply saddened by her loss and will miss her dearly. I will also never forget her the things she taught me or the influence she had in my life. Prayers for her family.

Maria Noel , Louisa, VA, US Mar 17, 2024

I met Karen almost 25 years ago when she called responding to a flyer I had left in her mailbox. I was 18 years old and starting my cleaning business. I cleaned for her for many years off and on, I also hosted some of her formal parties and helped her in her store. I always loved to decorate and with Karen's influence i am quite good at it. Still to this day I find myself strategically placing things just the way I know she would. Karen taught me many things that have stuck with me through the years. She was a big influence in my life. She was a strong, fierce, independent, hardworking, bad ass woman, one who spoke her mind and at times had no filter. I loved her dearly. I would always call to check on her periodically when she would cross my mind. She had been on my mind for weeks but I hadn't called until the other day. Unfortunately I was to late. When I heard Heather's voice answer the phone I just knew. I wish I had called a little sooner. I am deeply saddened by her loss and will miss her dearly. I will also never forget her the things she taught me or the influence she had in my life. Prayers for her family.

Maria Noel , Louisa, VA, US Mar 17, 2024

I met Karen almost 25 years ago when she called responding to a flyer I had left in her mailbox. I was 18 years old and starting my cleaning business. I cleaned for her for many years off and on, I also hosted some of her formal parties and helped her in her store. I always loved to decorate and with Karen's influence i am quite good at it. Still to this day I find myself strategically placing things just the way I know she would. Karen taught me many things that have stuck with me through the years. She was a big influence in my life. She was a strong, fierce, independent, hardworking, bad ass woman, one who spoke her mind and at times had no filter. I loved her dearly. I would always call to check on her periodically when she would cross my mind. She had been on my mind for weeks but I hadn't called until the other day. Unfortunately I was to late. When I heard Heather's voice answer the phone I just knew. I wish I had called a little sooner. I am deeply saddened by her loss and will miss her dearly. I will also never forget her the things she taught me or the influence she had in my life. Prayers for her family.

Maria Noel , Louisa, VA, US Mar 17, 2024

Karen and I go back to 1986, had moved here a year before. First started out as Karen being my customer for her nails. My shop was in my home. She was very instrumental in helping me grow my clientele. Many hours over the years of wonderful, funny and at times a few tears, sharing life stories. We enjoyed going out after our divorces and kicking up our heels. She treated me to a trip to Los Vegas. Wendy( her sister) was also on this trip. Never forget the fun and laughter about taking the limo to Walmart! You had to be there! I also worked for Karen and Vonn at the store downtown, I learned a lot. There is so much more I could say and stories to share. When Karen came home after her first bout with cancer, all she wanted was homemade fried chicken. You’d have thought I brought her a gourmet meal! When I told her I had cancer in 2018, she wanted to know if I needed anything, anything at all, don’t hesitate to call. She offered emotional support that helped me through some tough times.

When my youngest daughter got married, several of us were in Karen’s garage making flower arrangements till 3am. What a memory once again!

Karen came across as a “tough cookie” but there was a side to her not many people were privy too. She was kind and if you were lucky to have her as a friend, she was loyal. I will miss her dearly.

My heart aches for Heather, David and Chris, Wendy and her grandchildren. My prayers are with all of you.

She was a special lady!!!

Virginia Fricker , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 04, 2024

Karen and I go back to 1986, had moved here a year before. First started out as Karen being my customer for her nails. My shop was in my home. She was very instrumental in helping me grow my clientele. Many hours over the years of wonderful, funny and at times a few tears, sharing life stories. We enjoyed going out after our divorces and kicking up our heels. She treated me to a trip to Los Vegas. Wendy( her sister) was also on this trip. Never forget the fun and laughter about taking the limo to Walmart! You had to be there! I also worked for Karen and Vonn at the store downtown, I learned a lot. There is so much more I could say and stories to share. When Karen came home after her first bout with cancer, all she wanted was homemade fried chicken. You’d have thought I brought her a gourmet meal! When I told her I had cancer in 2018, she wanted to know if I needed anything, anything at all, don’t hesitate to call. She offered emotional support that helped me through some tough times.

When my youngest daughter got married, several of us were in Karen’s garage making flower arrangements till 3am. What a memory once again!

Karen came across as a “tough cookie” but there was a side to her not many people were privy too. She was kind and if you were lucky to have her as a friend, she was loyal. I will miss her dearly.

My heart aches for Heather, David and Chris, Wendy and her grandchildren. My prayers are with all of you.

Virginia Fricker , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 04, 2024

Karen and I go back to 1986, had moved here a year before. First started out as Karen being my customer for her nails. My shop was in my home. She was very instrumental in helping me grow my clientele. Many hours over the years of wonderful, funny and at times a few tears, sharing life stories. We enjoyed going out after our divorces and kicking up our heels. She treated me to a trip to Los Vegas. Wendy( her sister) was also on this trip. Never forget the fun and laughter about taking the limo to Walmart! You had to be there! I also worked for Karen and Vonn at the store downtown, I learned a lot. There is so much more I could say and stories to share. When Karen came home after her first bout with cancer, all she wanted was homemade fried chicken. You’d have thought I brought her a gourmet meal! When I told her I had cancer in 2018, she wanted to know if I needed anything, anything at all, don’t hesitate to call. She offered emotional support that helped me through some tough times.

When my youngest daughter got married, several of us were in Karen’s garage making flower arrangements till 3am. What a memory once again!

Karen came across as a “tough cookie” but there was a side to her not many people were privy too. She was kind and if you were lucky to have her as a friend, she was loyal. I will miss her dearly.

My heart aches for Heather, David and Chris, Wendy and her grandchildren. My prayers are with all of you.

Virginia Fricker , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 04, 2024

I loved her Zest for life.

Barbara Lewis , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 02, 2024

I met Karen through Heather whom I taught. I was a struggling single Mom of two boys who always needed to supplement my income. She hired me to welcome customers,take care of her dog,clean,keep her car sparkling ,and her shop inviting. When I left ( going to Costco) I continued to visit & chat seeking her advice and expertise on a variety of subjects.Karen is one of few that "beat" the IRS. I was thrilled to be invited to her birthday party and share in her joy. Her home & shop were always immaculate. She was a great friend and employer with boundless energy & wisdom. I will miss her. My sincere condolences to her family.

Barbara Lewis , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 02, 2024

I met Karen through Heather whom I taught. I was a struggling single Mom of two boys who always needed to supplement my income. She hired me to welcome customers,take care of her dog,clean,keep her car sparkling ,and her shop inviting. When I left ( going to Costco) I continued to visit & chat seeking her advice and expertise on a variety of subjects.Karen is one of few that "beat" the IRS. I was thrilled to be invited to her birthday party and share in her joy. Her home & shop were always immaculate. She was a great friend and employer with boundless energy & wisdom. I will miss her. My sincere condolences to her family.

Barbara Lewis , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 02, 2024

I met Karen through Heather whom I taught. I was a struggling single Mom of two boys who always needed to supplement my income. She hired me to welcome customers,take care of her dog,clean,keep her car sparkling ,and her shop inviting. When I left ( going to Costco) I continued to visit & chat seeking her advice and expertise on a variety of subjects.Karen is one of few that "beat" the IRS. I was thrilled to be invited to her birthday party and share in her joy. Her home & shop were always immaculate. She was a great friend and employer with boundless energy & wisdom. I will miss her. My sincere condolences to her family.

Barbara Lewis , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 02, 2024

I met Karen through Heather whom I taught. I was a struggling single Mom of two boys who always needed to supplement my income. She hired me to welcome customers,take care of her dog,clean,keep her car sparkling ,and her shop inviting. When I left ( going to Costco) I continued to visit & chat seeking her advice and expertise on a variety of subjects.Karen is one of few that "beat" the IRS. I was thrilled to be invited to her birthday party and share in her joy. Her home & shop were always immaculate. She was a great friend and employer with boundless energy & wisdom. I will miss her. My sincere condolences to her family.

Barbara Lewis , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 02, 2024

I met Karen through Heather whom I taught. I was a struggling single Mom of two boys who always needed to supplement my income. She hired me to welcome customers,take care of her dog,clean,keep her car sparkling ,and her shop inviting. When I left ( going to Costco) I continued to visit & chat seeking her advice and expertise on a variety of subjects.Karen is one of few that "beat" the IRS. I was thrilled to be invited to her birthday party and share in her joy. Her home & shop were always immaculate. She was a great friend and employer with boundless energy & wisdom. I will miss her. My sincere condolences to her family.

Barbara Lewis , Midlothian, VA, US Mar 02, 2024

I met Karen in 1883 when I walked into her shop to look for wallpaper. That was the beginning of a 40 yr. relationship as my outstanding decorator and even better friend. We have watched our families grow and have shared the ups and downs of life together. She helped me build and decorate 3 houses from afar. I look around my home today and see Karen's touch everywhere. Everything we picked out has a story which is filled with fun and laughter and most of all love. She loved her work and was passionate about it. I will miss our 2 to 3 hr check in or update calls about anything that happened since our last chat, our health, children and grandchildren before moving on to the hot political topic of the day. We always ended our chats with "I love ya" and a plan to get together soon. So one last time sweetie, "I love ya". I will miss you. We had so much left to do.

`Delbra Tysinger , Pfaffown, NC, US Mar 01, 2024

I met Karen in 1883 when I walked into her shop to look for wallpaper. That was the beginning of a 40 yr. relationship as my outstanding decorator and even better friend. We have watched our families grow and have shared the ups and downs of life together. She helped me build and decorate 3 houses from afar. I look around my home today and see Karen's touch everywhere. Everything we picked out has a story which is filled with fun and laughter and most of all love. She loved her work and was passionate about it. I will miss our 2 to 3 hr check in or update calls about anything that happened since our last chat, our health, children and grandchildren before moving on to the hot political topic of the day. We always ended our chats with "I love ya" and a plan to get together soon. So one last time sweetie, "I love ya". I will miss you. We had so much left to do.

`Delbra Tysinger , Pfaffown, NC, US Mar 01, 2024

I met Karen in 1883 when I walked into her shop to look for wallpaper. That was the beginning of a 40 yr. relationship as my outstanding decorator and even better friend. We have watched our families grow and have shared the ups and downs of life together. She helped me build and decorate 3 houses from afar. I look around my home today and see Karen's touch everywhere. Everything we picked out has a story which is filled with fun and laughter and most of all love. She loved her work and was passionate about it. I will miss our 2 to 3 hr check in or update calls about anything that happened since our last chat, our health, children and grandchildren before moving on to the hot political topic of the day. We always ended our chats with "I love ya" and a plan to get together soon. So one last time sweetie, "I love ya". I will miss you. We had so much left to do.

`Delbra Tysinger , Pfaffown, NC, US Mar 01, 2024

I met Karen in 1883 when I walked into her shop to look for wallpaper. That was the beginning of a 40 yr. relationship as my outstanding decorator and even better friend. We have watched our families grow and have shared the ups and downs of life together. She helped me build and decorate 3 houses from afar. I look around my home today and see Karen's touch everywhere. Everything we picked out has a story which is filled with fun and laughter and most of all love. She loved her work and was passionate about it. I will miss our 2 to 3 hr check in or update calls about anything that happened since our last chat, our health, children and grandchildren before moving on to the hot political topic of the day. We always ended our chats with "I love ya" and a plan to get together soon. So one last time sweetie, "I love ya". I will miss you. We had so much left to do.

`Delbra Tysinger , Pfaffown, NC, US Mar 01, 2024

I met Karen in 1883 when I walked into her shop to look for wallpaper. That was the beginning of a 40 yr. relationship as my outstanding decorator and even better friend. We have watched our families grow and have shared the ups and downs of life together. She helped me build and decorate 3 houses from afar. I look around my home today and see Karen's touch everywhere. Everything we picked out has a story which is filled with fun and laughter and most of all love. She loved her work and was passionate about it. I will miss our 2 to 3 hr check in or update calls about anything that happened since our last chat, our health, children and grandchildren before moving on to the hot political topic of the day. We always ended our chats with "I love ya" and a plan to get together soon. So one last time sweetie, "I love ya". I will miss you. We had so much left to do.

`Delbra Tysinger , Pfaffown, NC, US Mar 01, 2024

I met Karen in 1883 when I walked into her shop to look for wallpaper. That was the beginning of a 40 yr. relationship as my outstanding decorator and even better friend. We have watched our families grow and have shared the ups and downs of life together. She helped me build and decorate 3 houses from afar. I look around my home today and see Karen's touch everywhere. Everything we picked out has a story which is filled with fun and laughter and most of all love. She loved her work and was passionate about it. I will miss our 2 to 3 hr check in or update calls about anything that happened since our last chat, our health, children and grandchildren before moving on to the hot political topic of the day. We always ended our chats with "I love ya" and a plan to get together soon. So one last time sweetie, "I love ya". I will miss you. We had so much left to do.

`Delbra Tysinger , Pfaffown, NC, US Mar 01, 2024

I met Karen about 20 years ago. Someone had stolen some air conditioners from her office and I got the contract to replace them. After that, we worked on many projects together over the years. Karen was a good tough business woman. We became very good friends over the years. I just saw her less than a month ago and we talked about some projects that she had to do in February. She gave me a hug and said Goodbye. My condolences to the family. Karen will surely be missed.

David Parrett Feb 27, 2024

Truly a strong independent person, loved life and was ready to tackle any challenge.

We admired and respected her very much ! Her dynamic character was influential and will be forever remembered.

Sincerest condolences to the family.

Mark & Kathy

Mark , Midlothain , VA, US Feb 26, 2024

Truly a strong independent person, loved life and was ready to tackle any challenge.

We admired and respected her very much ! Her dynamic character was influential and will be forever remembered.

Sincerest condolences to the family.

Mark & Kathy

Mark , Midlothain , VA, US Feb 26, 2024

She was my beloved Gram and many of you know how much of a strong intelligent woman she was that truly inspired me. Sometimes with age people’s personalities tend to dull but never hers you can never say my grandma wasn’t a light and a big personality. She always made me laugh until the last conversation we had. I am incredibly grateful to have had a grandma like her and will forever cherish the memories we made in our time together. “Love you, miss you” Cate

Catelyn Creed Feb 25, 2024

She was my beloved Gram and many of you know how much of a strong intelligent woman she was that truly inspired me. Sometimes with age people’s personalities tend to dull but never hers you can never say my grandma wasn’t a light and a big personality. She always made me laugh until the last conversation we had. I am incredibly grateful to have had a grandma like her and will forever cherish the memories we made in our time together. “Love you, miss you” Cate

Catelyn Creed Feb 25, 2024

Heather, Chris & David- My heart breaks hearing of your mothers passing. My thoughts, prayers and love are with you all.

Marybeth Sanchez , Holland, MI, US Feb 25, 2024

Heather, Chris & David- My heart breaks hearing of your mothers passing. My thoughts, prayers and love are with you all.

Marybeth Sanchez , Holland, MI, US Feb 25, 2024

My heart breaks hearing of Karen’s passing. My thoughts, prayers and love are with you all. It’s never easy to lose a parent.

Marybeth Sanchez , Holland, MI, US Feb 25, 2024

Have known Karen for many years. R.I.P. Beautiful Lady! ❤️

Diane Hager/Johnson , Chandler , AZ, US Feb 23, 2024

We are so sad to hear of Karen’s passing…..she was a savvy business woman, who beautifully decorated several of my homes. Karen also became a good friend over the years, and she will be missed.

Drew and Marylee Aubry , Ashland, VA, US Feb 23, 2024

I attended 12corners comm church with Karen, sang in the choir with her too. We were good friends. I also knew her folks and grandparents.May God give her family peace and strength at this time

Schaus Shirley(Karen Harrington) , Coloma, MI, US Feb 23, 2024

I attended 12corners comm church with Karen, sang in the choir with her too. We were good friends. I also knew her folks and grandparents.

Schaus Shirley(Karen Harrington) , Coloma, MI, US Feb 23, 2024

I met your mom through my mom and dad, Sis and Bob Sommerfeldt and your grandpa Don. Your grandpa and my dad were best friends. Your mom was so full of life and did everything in a big way. I spent a 4th of July weekend with her and it was the best time, she was a strong willed woman who had a mission, she was beautiful inside and out. She will truly be missed, RIP Karen

Sandi Sommerfeldt , Bradenton, FL, US Feb 23, 2024

I met your mom through my mom and dad, Sis and Bob Sommerfeldt and your grandpa Don. Your grandpa and my dad were best friends. Your mom was so full of life and did everything in a big way. I spent a 4th of July weekend with her and it was the best time, she was a strong willed woman who had a mission, she was beautiful inside and out. She will truly be missed, RIP Karen

Sandi Sommerfeldt , Bradenton, FL, US Feb 23, 2024

As a young lady I worked for Karen in her decorating businesses. I admired her for her strength, and tenacity to succeed on her own. I remember how vibrant she was in our community. Karen was an influence in my life and I really loved her.

Submitted By Rhond Sommerfeldt-Poklemba

david creed Feb 21, 2024

I have worked with Ms. Karen for over 15 years cleaning her house. Ms. Karen was an strong women anyone that would look up to. One of our last conversations was Ms. Karen saying if she were to leave this earth this year she would leave happy and content. I've enjoyed my time with her as an employee, but more as a friend.

Agni Giubi , South Chesterfield , VA, US Feb 20, 2024

I have worked with Ms. Karen for over 15 years cleaning her house. Ms. Karen was an strong women anyone that would look up to. One of our last conversations was Ms. Karen saying if she were to leave this earth this year she would leave happy and content. I've enjoyed my time with her as an employee, but more as a friend.

Agni Giubi , South Chesterfield , VA, US Feb 20, 2024

I have worked with Ms. Karen for over 15 years cleaning her house. Ms. Karen was an strong women anyone that would look up to. One of our last conversations was Ms. Karen saying if she were to leave this earth this year she would leave happy and content. I've enjoyed my time with her as an employee, but more as a friend.

Agni Giubi , South Chesterfield , VA, US Feb 20, 2024

Timeline


  • 1940
  • 1945

    at grandma's house 1945

  • 1948

    Karen with her Mom and Dad

  • 1950
  • 1955

    Karen and family, Christmas

  • 1956

    Karen and Wendy on the farm

  • 1959

    Karen....Majorette!

  • 1960
  • 1961

    Karen and Chuck with son David

  • 1980
  • 1983

    Karen skiing in Aspen

  • 1990
  • 1998

    Karen waterskiing at 56!

  • 2000
  • 2003

    Karen with granddaughter Catelyn

  • 2020
  • Dec 2022

    Karen and David