ForeverMissed

Karen L. Atwell, née Phelps, of Yucca Valley, passed away April 26th, 2016 at age 74. She was born in Albany, California to Cyril and Merle (Sartor) Phelps on December 18th, 1941. She later moved with her family to Compton, California. She skipped a grade at Emerson Elementary and attended Compton High School where she wrote for the school newspaper and was a member of the yearbook commitee.

When first married, Karen lived with her first husband, Tom Atwell, in Santa Barbara, California. She and her family then lived briefly in Oxnard and then on a ranch in Sunland before settling in Fountain Valley for five years. Her family then moved to Parker, Colorado for another five years before returning to California to live in Huntington Beach. Karen later returned to Colorado and lived in Denver for 14 years before retiring with her second husband, Bob Carroll, in Yucca Valley, California.

Karen began working at 16, and was highly valued by her employers and coworkers alike at Commercial Credit, GM, Ultrasystems, the City of Huntington Beach, the City of Aurora, and Yucca Valley High School.

Wherever she went, Karen made many friends. She was quick-witted, fun-loving, vivacious, generous and charismatic, and she had a flair for mischief and madcap fun. She loved helping down-and-out people and pets, volunteering at homeless shelters and animal shelters. She was adventurous and enjoyed taking “mystery trips” to unknown destinations. She also loved beaches and basking in the sun. In their retirement, Karen and Bob enjoyed RV excursions with their dog Ginger. Karen liked film festivals and live theater and was a voracious reader.

Karen was very fortunate to have found a soulmate and loving companion in her husband Bob. In the last 20 + years, Karen and Bob enjoyed countless roadtrips, cruises, getaways and adventures together; they indulged in their love of antiquing and car shows together; and they welcomed 10 grandchildren to the world between them. Karen loved Bob deeply, and he was the most devoted husband she could have ever asked for.  

She leaves behind her beloved husband Bob Carroll of Yucca Valley; her son Michael Atwell of San Diego; her daughter and son-in-law, Melissa and Peter Spurr of Joshua Tree; her sister Vivian Newton of Huntington Beach and Vivian’s children and grandchildren; her granddaughter, Amelia; her husband’s children whom she loved dearly, Robert Carroll, Jr., Angela Carroll, Maria Carroll and Vanessa Varney and 9 beloved grandchildren through them. She also leaves behind her cat, Lois, and her much adored rescue dogs, Dexter and Dolly.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Cyril and Merle Phelps, her brother, Ronald G. Phelps, and her nephew, William "Billy" Newton.

A celebration of Karen's life will be held on Wednesday, May 11th at 4:00 p.m. at Wiefel’s Funeral Chapel in Yucca Valley at 57285 Yucca Trail, Yucca Valley, CA 92284. A reception at Karen and Bob's home in Yucca Valley will follow.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society and/or the Morongo Basin Humane Society (http://www.mbhumanesociety.com).

Posted by Lyle York on May 3, 2016
She always had a smile for anyone she came across. Karen, you and Bob have been missed since leaving Colorado.
Posted by Susan Chapel on May 3, 2016
Bob and Family,
So sorry to hear of your loss. May you find comfort and peace through your loving memories of Karen.
Posted by Vivian Newton on May 3, 2016
Karen - Rest in peace.

Bill Champion (Compton)
Posted by Marilyn Cross on May 2, 2016
I enjoyed knowing Karen while she was in Colorado. She had a great sense of humor and a very positive attitude. She will be missed.
Posted by Rick Solomon on May 2, 2016
I feel blessed to have known Karen, a truly special person with so many fine qualities.
Posted by Linda Fauland on May 1, 2016
I am forever blessed to have had Karen in my life for 30+ years! She was the funnest person I have ever spent time with - Thank you for your love and support - and the gut laughs we shared for years! We will miss you forever! All our love, Herb & Linda Fauland
Posted by Jinnie Laturnus on May 1, 2016
I am thankful that God put Karen in our life. She was complete JOY to our family.
She helped me in so many ways! A VERY PRECIOUS PERSON!
Jinnie Langbauer Laturnus

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Lyle York on May 3, 2016
She always had a smile for anyone she came across. Karen, you and Bob have been missed since leaving Colorado.
Posted by Susan Chapel on May 3, 2016
Bob and Family,
So sorry to hear of your loss. May you find comfort and peace through your loving memories of Karen.
Posted by Vivian Newton on May 3, 2016
Karen - Rest in peace.

Bill Champion (Compton)
Recent stories

Sit in the Front Row

Shared by Melissa Spurr on May 4, 2016

Shared by Susan Hall, a very dear long time friend of Karen:

Karen and I became friends when we worked together in the late 1970s in Newport.  She made every day joyful.  We were banging away on our IBM typewriters, typing proposals and answering phones, but mostly laughing and looking forward to going to lunch in the Porsche.  When she was on the phone she would twirl a piece of her hair.  She could type 130+ words a minute and make people laugh while doing it.  I marveled at what a loving and cool mother she was, which was evident then but is more evident now by how very cool and loving Michael and Melissa are today. 

 Whenever I spoke to Karen, I felt like I was back in her kitchen.  Time and distance did not matter, we picked up where we left off which was mostly laughing at ourselves.  Everything about being with her, speaking to her, thinking about her, made me happy and grateful she was my friend.  I will cherish that till we meet again, hopefully on a beach wearing big shades and straw hats and sipping anything over ice.    All my love, Susan

 

Shared by Melissa Spurr on May 3, 2016

This steamy image from 1957 was among Karen's old photos. On the back, someone wrote: "Give this to Terry for me, its Karen & Weller, Ha I just know it will slow him down a little, show it to Karen too?"

Childhood

Shared by Kateliene Brower on May 2, 2016

The story I remember most was Karen babysitting for the four crazy Vanettes kids,
while the her parents and mine went out on the town.... 
On this night she lost the youngest boy, Cary, only to find him stuffed in the chimmey.  I'm sure the boys were playing 'lets hide from Karen'.
I'm pretty sure it was her last night with us.