Obituary: Katherine Lorene Callen

March 21, 1940 – November 22, 2017

Katherine (Kay) Lorene (Iverson) Callen passed away in Mount Vernon, Wash. on November 22, 2017.

Kay was born at home, in Wendell, on March 21, 1940; to Bert and Wilma Iverson. She attended school in Jerome. In 1958 she married Charles C. Callen and moved to Condon, Oregon; completing her senior year and graduating high school there. During her school years she developed a close friendship with Emma Lou Foreman, which she maintained throughout her life, even from great distance. In their time together Kay and Charles raised three children; their marriage ended in 1988.

While raising her family, she lived in Condon, Oregon; Wendell and Jerome; Butte, Mont.; and Ritzville, Wash. In 1971 she and Charles moved to Custer, Wash. to join the family business and built a home on Stein Road, where she lived until 2013. During her time in Custer, she maintained a close relationship with her father-in-law, friend, and neighbor Gene Callen that endured until his passing in 2010. While living in Custer, Kay enjoyed frequent visits and overnight stays from her grandchildren, sharing her love of the wildlife that frequented her rural yard – feeding squirrels, birds, and wild ducks.

In 2013 she retired and moved to Alpine Ridge Retirement Community in Mt. Vernon, Wash. to be near her children and grandchildren. Kay loved her life at Alpine, making many friends while dining, playing games, and enjoying social activities; she created and maintained an outdoor flower garden and bird sanctuary, which she enjoyed along with all her neighbors. Kay was a weekly fixture at Taco Thursday, hosted by her daughter-in law Shawna. She used this time to catch up with the busy lives of her grandchildren – Caitlyn and Hannah, and her ever-traveling son Chuck. Kay used the closeness of Mount Vernon to bake and deliver treats to her grandchildren Lauren, Frankie, and Kylie in Stanwood. She thoroughly loved visits from her granddaughter Lauren and great-granddaughter Vally Rae, usually taking a roll of pictures at each visit.

Kay loved to cook, bake, garden, and can. She enjoyed feeding and watching wild birds, growing African violets; and planting and tending dahlias with her granddaughter Kylie. Everywhere she lived, she maintained a sizable vegetable garden. She had a passion for canning and her pickles and preserved fruits were sought after by her family and friends. For many years she politely ignored every request to transfer her pickle recipe to her family; and her special recipe continues to remain a secret. Her vast collection of personal recipes, some nearly as old as Kay, will be inherited by her granddaughter Kylie, who will carry-on Grandma’s tradition of preparing a variety of special Christmas cookies for the family.

Besides her family, one of Kay’s greatest accomplishments was as a survivor—having successfully battled breast cancer twice. Kay’s life will be remembered by her family and all who knew her as one of determination; her individual strength and strength of character are greatly admired.

Kay is survived by her daughter Brenda (David) Callen-Kenward, her son Chuck (Shawna) Callen, and her daughter Melode (Brooke Jr.) VandeBrake. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Lauren Kelly, Frankie Kelly, Caitlyn O’Connor, Kylie VandeBrake, Hannah Callen, and her great-granddaughter Vally Rae Sharp.

Kay is also survived by her brother Cliff (Shirley) Iverson and sister Bonnie Hageman, sisters- and brothers-in-law, cousins, nieces, nephews and dear friend Patti Stephens. She was preceded in death by her parents and her beloved in-laws Gene and Mildred Callen.

She was a lifetime member and Past Worthy Matron of the Ferndale Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star, and served as Mother Advisor for the Ferndale Chapter of Rainbow Girls.

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Kay enjoyed her years working at the family business—Callen Construction Co., and later retired from Security Solutions in 2012.

Her love, hugs, smile, baked and canned goods, and her flower garden will be dearly missed by all.

A celebration of life reception, will be held on Friday, December 8th at 12:30pm, at Greenacres Memorial Park, 5700 Northwest Drive, Ferndale, Washington.

The family requests memorials to be made in Kay’s name, to Shriner’s Hospital for Children, at 911 West 5th Avenue, Spokane, WA 99204

Arrangements are under the care of Hawthorne Funeral Home Mount Vernon, Wash.

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