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Karen Rae Welsh (Adkins), 83, passed away on Friday, September 2, 2022, at Country House Residence in Kearney, Nebraska, after suffering a stroke.
Karen was born January 12, 1939, to Ray and Mary (Shaw) Adkins, in Madison, Nebraska. She was baptized in the Madison Methodist Episcopal Church. Karen’s parents owned a tavern and liquor store in Madison. There, Karen’s father fixed the basement so children could play down there, and also placed a small cot for her, in case Karen wanted to go to sleep before closing time, which was often late. On Saturday evenings, farm families would come to Madison to buy groceries, and then go to the tavern for the evening until midnight when the tavern closed. Their children would bring puppies, kittens, and other assorted animals, making these weekly playtimes in the tavern basement very memorable for the rest of Karen’s life.
Karen and her parents moved to Ogallala in 1952, when she was in seventh grade, and opened a Coast-to-Coast hardware store. During her school years, Karen was involved in choir, band, and musicals. It was the latter where she met her future husband, Mike, while practicing and performing Babes in Toyland during their senior year. They were together for 67 years thereafter. While in high school Karen also worked at McDonald’s Clothing Store in Ogallala, while also serving as an usher at the Prairie Theater in the evenings. In the summers, she worked as a lifeguard at the Ogallala swimming pool.
Karen graduated from Ogallala High School in 1956, ranked in the top five scholastically in her class of 72 students. She went on to further her education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she was a member of the Chi Omega sorority. She and Mike were known for loving to dance, and often were the first on the dance floor, bringing others to join them.
On February 1st, 1959, Karen married Mike Welsh in the Ogallala Methodist Church. The couple lived on a family-owned farm in Perkins County for seven years before moving back to Ogallala. Karen worked one day a week at Corner Junction gift shop for several years, and she was an active member and officer of P.E.O., Chapter CL. Karen was an active, loving presence in all of her children’s lives, serving as room mother at school for several years, as a constant volunteer in their activities, and even being the Den Mother for Tim’s Cub Scout Pack. Her love of being involved in their lives continued as her children got older, with Karen even traveling to France, Spain, and England to be with her daughter, Kristi, and her high school Spanish class.
Karen and Mike traveled extensively, as well, from New Orleans to Greece to the backwoods of Canada. In 1996 they visited Dublin, Ireland, with a group of other band parents to watch their daughter, Kristi, march with the Cornhusker Marching Band in the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day parade. Karen and Mike returned to Ireland, Scotland, and England twice more with their son, Jeff, and his wife, Cheryl. They also made many more trips to Europe with Jeff and Cheryl to Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany.
After retirement, the couple purchased a home in Naples, Florida, and spent most of every winter there for nearly twenty years. Tim and his family lived in the area, so Karen was able to enjoy her “Florida” grandchildren in the winter, and her “Nebraska” grandchildren in the summer. They met many dear friends while in Naples, and enjoyed pool time, beach time, and cocktail and snack hour.
Karen’s priority in life was always her children and her grandchildren. When once told that she raised three great kids, Karen responded “Thank you. I hope so. I think that’s what I was born to do.” Her children and grandchildren heartily agree with that statement, and will miss her very, very much. She was always a cheerful and lovely light in their lives.
Karen was preceded in death by her parents, Ray, and Mary Adkins; her two brothers, Meredith Adkins, and Dr. Nathan Adkins; and her husband, Mike, and son, Jeff, losing both in April of this year.
She is survived by her son, Timothy Michael Welsh, daughter Kristine Kay Leibhart (Mike), daughter-in-law Cheryl Welsh, and six grandchildren: Sarah Welsh, Claire Welsh, and Jack Welsh; and Zane Leibhart, Chase Leibhart, and Cooper Leibhart.
Funeral Services will be Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 10:00 am from the Grace Point Church with Reverend Curtis Tschetter officiating.
Visitation will be Friday, September 9, 2022 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Draucker Funeral Home.
Memorials have been established to P.E.O., Chapter CL.
Interment will be in the Ogallala Cemetery.
Services will be live streamed from www.drauckerfh.com and by clicking the watch live button. Online condolences may be left also at www.drauckerfh.com
Draucker Funeral Home has been entrusted with arrangements.