A great horse will change your life. The truly special ones define it. Karen Kay Jensen’s life was changed by a horse named Sweetheart. Sweetheart captured Karen’s youthful heart, guided her spirit to greener pastures, and helped her to soar. Her time with Sweetheart on her aunt and uncle’s ranch in Oregon sparked a lifelong passion and brought endless joy and happiness to her life.
Karen, in turn, did the same for everyone she met. She was a beacon of light, hope, perseverance, and lived her one, wild and precious life to the fullest. Born on July 26, 1957 to Grant and Barbara Hatch, Karen was many things over the course of her life. She was a loving daughter; a supportive sister to Brian, Kevin, and Theresa; a wonderful cousin, niece, aunt, and friend. Excellence came to her in her roles of wife, mother, and grandma. No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. For Karen this was true, but those who knew her would also say “no hour of her life was wasted”. Early on Karen was adventurous.
She loved horses, was involved in Girl Scouts, and even won a state championship title for her gymnastics skills. When an injury cut her gymnastics dreams down just prior to her high school graduation in 1975, Karen persevered and got back in the saddle. Literally. A precision horseback riding and jumping scholarship program in Canada scooped her up. Sadly, before she could compete, the program closed but not before it renewed her love and wonder of horses. Friends were easy to come by for Karen and after the program closed, she found refuge as a nanny for a wonderful Canadian family, the Olsens. Eventually they came to care for each other as family and years later Karen would continue to vacation, with her family, growing to deeply love both Canada and the Olsens. Upon moving back to the states, she worked in sales and then management for Nordstrom, then earned her real estate and broker licenses.
Karen loved helping people and their dream properties and she served clients in the South King County and Enumclaw Plateau area for 32 years.
During that transition, Karen fell in love with Barton Jensen and the two married on March 30, 1990. Together they raised a beautiful family, went on numerous adventures, celebrated life’s bounty with friends and family, and loved without measure. Whip smart, full of knowledge, and incredibly kind, Karen approached all things in her life with zeal. Whether she was dressing cuts on scraped knees, or one of the many trips with a child to the hospital for stitches, or coming to the rescue when making friendship necklaces had gone awry, or beaming with pride next to one of her beloved Arabian horses; Karen did it all with grace and an appreciation for every minute spent. On January 13, 2020 Karen burned the breeze towards glory. No heaven can heaven be, if a horse isn’t there to welcome her. Her beloved son Christopher is there; perhaps holding a set of reins, waiting for her hellos, to deftly swing her leg up and over, breathe deeply again, and know what it is to truly fly through the heavens. Those who were lucky enough to share this great earthly ride with Karen are her loving husband Barton; her amazing, bright, independent children Kelly, Amy, Marissa, and Cameron; beautiful grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends. Karen left it all on the table; every bit of love, hope, kindness, and encouragement she had was given. Just like her horses, she held nothing back and is forever free.
If Karen’s life and journey leaves you with anything, let it be this. “Don’t give up, don’t you quit, you keep walking, you keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead- a lot of it. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come”
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