Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Karen 'Kari' Johnson


August 25, 2016

Karen "Kari" Lee Johnson Franckowiak, 65, passed away Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, with family and friends present.

She was born in Thermopolis, Wyo., and lived several places before settling in Richland, Wash. Growing up she spent a lot of time riding horses and burying treasure under the treasure tree on the ranch where her father worked.

Karen loved music and dancing. She played clarinet in the school band at Thermopolis High School, which allowed her to continue onto college with a music scholarship.

Her passions became camping in the outdoors, fishing and the beauty of the written word. She found humor in life and loved the power of laughter.

She found a new love late in life, self-expression through tattoos and could not wait until the next one.

Karen cherished her trip to Ireland with her daughter and the shenanigans they got to participate in, as well as the time spent warming the bleachers for her son's countless baseball games. She touched many lives from carhopping in Thermopolis, care facilities in Salt Lake, technical writer at Hanford and school district para in Richland.

She was a loving wife, caring mother and great friend.

She is survived by her husband of 39 years Stephen Mathew Franckowiak; daughter, Kristin (Rusty) Cosette Hill; son, Dale (Monti) Richard Franckowiak; seven grandchildren; sister, Betty Jo St. Clair; brothers, Hugh (Mildred) Johnson and Mark (Jane) Johnson; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

She was preceded in death by the parents, Wilford Hiram Johnson and Goldie Elizabeth Richardson Johnson; and brother, Lawrence "Larry" Lehman Johnson.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to ARC of the Tri-Cities in memory of Karen at


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