Juneau resident Karen Louise Schanz died Feb. 12, 2008, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She was 55.
Born April 19, 1952, in Harlowton, Mont., she was the first child of Helen and Johnny Schanz.
She was raised on a small Montana farm, where she learned to become a hard-working, responsible person, her family said. She graduated from Ryegate High School.
According to family, she moved to Alaska with her sister, Kathy, in 1977, and immediately fell in love with the scenery, fishing and small-town feeling of Juneau. Over the years, she made many friends at the many places she worked: Wolf & Associates, Foodland Supermarket, Jerry's Meats and Seafoods, and the state of Alaska.
At the age of 42, she pursued her dream of helping others by going back to school to become a chiropractor. In 2000, she graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic West in San Jose, Calif.
A great deal of her love and time went into starting her own business and helping her patients become healthy, her family said. She will continue to help many through being an organ donor.
Her nieces, nephews, family and friends were the treasures in her life, and she left her passion for life in each one of them, her family said. She loved to fish, watch whales, go to the beach with her family for picnics, go camping, play card games, bake special birthday cakes, go to garage sales, make crafts, go berry picking and spend time with friends. She was always the first to volunteer to help others in whatever way they needed, her family said.
She was preceded in death by her father; and three brothers, Kary, Kelly and Keith Schanz; nephew, Vaughn Schanz; and niece, Emily Erickson.
She is survived by her mother; two sisters, Kathy Messing and her husband, Martin, and Keela Kelly and her husband, Mike, all of Juneau; brother, Kenny Schanz, of Lewistown, Mont.; sister-in-law, Cassie Erickson and her husband, Bill, of Ismay, Mont.; nieces and nephews, Tennia Schanz and Howard Lode, of Belgrade, Mont., Tayla Schanz, of Ryegate, Mont., Rosalie and Andrew Schanz, and Libby Erickson, all of Ismay, Krista and Kelsey Messing, of Juneau, and Ryan, Kymberlee and Erik Kelly, of Juneau; and great-nephew and great-niece, Hunter and Tamika Schanz Lode, of Belgrade.
The community is invited to her memorial services at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at St. Paul's Catholic Church. A potluck gathering will be afterward in the church hall. A burial service will be at a later date, when she will be placed in a niche at the Shrine of St. Therese Columbarium.
Donations in her name may be made to Helping Hands, P.O. Box 33721, Juneau, AK 99803; Shrine of St. Therese, 5933 Lund St., Juneau, AK 99801; or a charity of choice. The family may be contacted at 789-9699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.