Karen Marlene Dunning Obituary - 2017 - Olympia, WA - Afterlife


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Karen Marlene Dunning's obituary, Passed away on April 12th 2017 in Olympia, Washington

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Karen Marlene Dunning

In loving memory

Karen Marlene Dunning

Passed away : April 12th 2017

Place of Death : Olympia, Washington

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Obituary for Karen Marlene Dunning


Karrie M. Dunning will be remembered as a compassionate and unique being with a big heart. She embodied many things during the time she shared with us on Earth. Karrie was an avid learner, a lover of Sci-Fi, a lifelong Beatles fan, a bass player, an animal lover (and adoptive parent to several sweet pets), a world traveler, a licensed massage practitioner, a yoga instructor, a creator and crafter, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a calm and accepting spirit. From her collection of tattoos, to her interest in yoga and holistic health, to her budget travels, Karrie was in many ways ahead of her time.Karrie explored many far reaches of the globe, on a shoestring (and before the internet made doing so easy!).

Through her and Nick's time in the military, she lived in several U.S. states, as well as Germany. While working for NOAA, she spent time in the South Georgian Islands, the Bering Sea, Punta Arenas, Chile, and Antarctica. On her own accord, she traveled to Java and Bali, Indonesia, Hawaii, and the United Kingdom. Her last destinations included Iceland in November of 2016 (one of her bucket-list travel destinations), and Spokane to visit family and attend a Science-Fiction convention. She was a lifelong Star Trek and Sci-Fi fan.

She loved Firefly & Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Karrie was active in fandom as early as the 1978 Norwescon, held in what is now SeaTac, Washington.Karrie lived an adventurous and expansive life. It's difficult to cover all of her pursuits and explorations, but we have compiled a cliff-notes version of her journey: Early Years & Teens- On June 11, 1951, Karen Marlene Dunning was born in Pullman, Washington, to proud parents Maxine Francis Dunning and Henry Alfred Smith Dunning. The Dunning family soon relocated west to Seattle, and in 1954, Karrie acquired a baby sister, Colleen Gayle.

The two attended grade school in Seattle and Shoreline. Lifelong Beatles fans--John was Karrie's favorite--the sisters attended their first Beatles concerts in 1964 and 1966, both at the Seattle Center Coliseum. Karrie graduated from Ballard High School in 1969. She began taking classes at the University of Washington, and then at Skagit County Community College. 20's- In 1971, Karen met Nick Martin.

The two soon embarked on a hitchhiking adventure to Alaska, where they worked together at a shrimp processing plant in Homer. In June of that year they married in Kodiak, and returned to Seattle shortly after. Nick then enlisted in the army. The couple moved to several different cities in the U.S. for basic training before relocating to Ansbach, Germany (90 miles north of Munich), where Karrie worked at the Ansbach Service Center.

Karrie and Nick eventually returned to Seattle, and Karrie began classes at Shoreline Community College. In 1977, Karrie and Nick divorced. Karrie next enrolled in an Outward Bound program in Oregon, and after, enlisted in the Army Reserves. In 1979, she attended the US Army Medical Laboratory Specialist School, at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

In 1980, Karrie got a job working at Wesley Hospital in Wichita, Kansas. 30's- The summer of 1981 brought Karrie back to Seattle to work for NOAA aboard the Miller Freeman. The vessel served as a working platform to study the ocean's living resources, primarily in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Then, from 1982-84, Karrie attended Seattle Central Community College, where she worked as a lab assistant. She transferred to the UW, where she also worked as a work study lab assistant.

In June of 1986, Karrie graduated from the UW with a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative History and a minor in Chemistry. She continued her studies at the Naval Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Illinois, where she earned a Hospital Corps Certificate of Graduation. 1988 called Karrie back to Seattle and to the sea, where she rejoined NOAA as a Survey Technician aboard the Surveyor. The steam-powered Surveyor carried her as far south as the Palmer Peninsula in Antarctica, where scientists observed and studied Antarctic marine living resources. 40's- In 1991, Karrie boarded a new vessel, the Sea Bird, to work as a deck hand for Wilderness Cruises. The Sea Bird carried passengers to the coast of Mexico for whale watching. During this time, Karrie spent her off-season residing aboard her houseboat docked at sleepy Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island.

Built early in the century, the tiny Dreamboat featured a lofted bed and miniature wood stove--a fitting abode for a dreamer and doer. Karrie used her cruise credits to take her mother on a Wilderness Cruise through the British Isles. Karrie moved back to Seattle in 1993 to begin as a travel agent for Escape Tours. She used her company travel benefits there to visit Mexico.

In 1996, after graduating from Seattle Massage School, Karrie opened her own massage practice. In 1999, she purchased her condo near Magnusson Park (and the neighboring NOAA Western Regional Center). Karrie was very excited to have a place to call her own, which she shared with her black lab, Stealth. She worked for Providence Hospital and Northwest Hospital at the time. 50's- A yoga enthusiast, in 2009, Karrie earned her personal practice certificate from Whole Life Yoga. After experiencing a period of difficult medical and financial setbacks, Karrie moved to her studio apartment in Belltown, a short walk from her new job as Property Manager at Pete Gross House.

She shared her cozy studio with Inca, her smart and precious pup, in the heart of bustling downtown Seattle. When Inca's little legs could no longer support her, Karrie bundled Inca up in a baby stroller and continued to bring her to the dog park across the street for fresh air and a chance to socialize with other dogs and people. 60's- In 2015, Karrie retired from Pete Gross House and bought her home in Olympia, Washington. She moved in with her dear friend Constance and her final doggie companion, Larry. Karrie immediately set to work with painting and renovations.

Like her prior living spaces, Karrie decorated her new home with her own personal flair. With her sewing machine, eclectic style, and do-it-yourself mentality, she set to work turning her house into a home. Unfortunately, Karrie also began experiencing a string of medical issues and fatigue. In February of 2017, she learned of her Leukemia diagnosis.

Hoping for the best and focusing on moving forward, she opted for treatment. Sadly, she transitioned from flesh to spirit on April 11, 2017, at University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. Karrie will be missed by her family, her many dear friends, and her last canine companion, Larry. Karrie is preceded in death by her mother, Maxine Francis Dunning, as well as several sweet pet companions: her cats Marty & Braxton, her black lab Stealth, and her little dog, Inca.

She is survived by her younger sister, Gayle Harris, her father Al Dunning, and her two nieces, Amanda Johnstun and Courtney Harris. If you would like to make a donation in Karrie's name, an Animal Rescue of your choice is certainly something she would have appreciated.

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