Karen (Inga) Shay


August 24, 2022

Karen (Inga) Shay, 91, of Bremerton, Wash., passed away Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. The cause of death was a traumatic brain injury from a fall.

She is being cremated and her cremains will be buried in the family graveyard on her parents' homestead.

Karen had been living independently and enjoying every day. She loved striking up conversations with people she met on her frequent trips to town. She fixed everything in ingenious ways, loved crafts, was a master seamstress and loved kitsch.

Karen was born, June 10, 1931, on a farm with no water or electricity, near Glasgow, Mont. She was the youngest daughter of a family who all lived long lives. The family upgraded to a house in the 2,500 person town when she was still small, which was fancier, but still had no running water or electricity. After high school, she saved up money, as a secretary for two years, to move to L.A. and then San Francisco to model and enjoy big city life. She typed 100 words a minute and took shorthand. She enrolled in the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho, where she met her husband, Tom. Her master's thesis studied the disabled homemaker. She helped build an apartment building and a house and held a full-time job, most of the time while bringing up her daughter, Ellen, who survives her. In 1970, her husband stopped teaching at the University of Idaho to work as a nuclear engineer at the shipyard in Bremerton.

She spent the morning of the day she fell with her granddaughter, Leah, sunning on the deck, before falling as she was going to the car to go out.


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