May 6, 1957 - October 25, 2022
It is with great sorrow that we announce the peaceful passing of Karen Hovestad on October 25, 2022. Karen is survived by her husband Ron, daughters Melissa and Angela, 4 sisters, and many cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Karen was born in Clairsholm Alberta on May 6, 1957. Growing up, she lived in many different cities across Canada since both her parents, Norman and Wilma, were active members of Canadian military forces. She married Ron in 1982, and it was just 2 weeks short of their 40th wedding anniversary when she passed.
She was tremendously proud of her garden, caring for it every day whenever she could. She could name every plant and flower if you asked, even in Latin. She was both an executive member and the president of the Nanaimo Horticulture Club for many years.
Her garden was a home and a pleasant visit for many wild animals and birds, and she always rejoiced at seeing families of quail strolling around. She was always happy to give tours through her garden to her friends and fellow club members.
Karen also loved cars, whether driving them fast or selling them. While living in Winnipeg in the 1970s, she was the 1st female car salesperson. From 1997 to 2020, she and Ron owned and operated Auto Check Automotive on Cliff Street and Bowen Rd in Nanaimo. She loved her staff and customers and had fun making TV and radio ads, earning herself the nickname "one-take Karen".
Karen enjoyed her time spent as a member of the Pacific Coast Mustang Association. She even got to drive her Golf R on the Cowichan track, and most notably raced on the Mondello track in Ireland.
In 2001, Karen studied at Royal Roads University, graduated in 2003, and earned a Master's Degree in Arts, Leadership, and Training. She applied her newfound skills to her role as a Fields Operation Supervisor for Statistics Canada in 2006 and 2011, employing and managing hundreds of people, as well as in her position at Auto Check.
Karen not only worked for the Autism Society of BC, she also initiated the Island branch in 1993 and helped families all across Vancouver Island. She sat on the board of directors for the Autism Society of Vancouver Island until 2011.
Karen served Nanaimo in three other, notable ways. First, it was as a member on the Nanaimo Community Heritage Commission for a number of years, sharing her passion for local history, heritage buildings, and castles. Second, it was as a long-time member of the Departure Bay Neighborhood Association, where she helped organize many local events. Third and last (but most certainly not the least), it was as a political candidate, running for a seat at Nanaimo's City Council in 2014. Two more seats and she would have won...
For her entire life Karen was a talented seamstress, creating many dresses and clothes for her family as well as for weddings. In the 1980s she found a pattern for a special housecoat called a Kimono at a fabric store. Over the years since making this discovery she made over 75 Kimonos in total, and in her final months she made 20 of them, sharing pieces of her love with everyone she could.
As you can see, Karen had the biggest heart and loved a great deal many things, her family and her community first and foremost. Her contributions to Nanaimo were countless, the people whose lives she touched doubly so. There is no doubt that her absence is greatly felt today, and her laughter and joy even at the very end of her life resonates and echoes in our hearts forever.
A Celebration of Life will be held in honor of Karen at 11:00 am on December 3, 2022 at Saint Andrew's Presbyterian Church, at 4235 Departure Bay Rd. This service will be live streamed and available for viewing online after. Details from https://www.standrewsnanaimo.ca/
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Canadian Cancer Society.