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Karen Ann (Sanderson) Gleason

The Courtland Journal of Courtland, Kansas

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Karen Ann Gleason stepped into heaven on Sunday, October 18, 2015, at the age of 53, after a 25-1/2 month battle with cancer, at St. Luke's Hospital of Kansas City in Missouri.

Karen is survived by her beloved husband, Dave, of Leavenworth, Kansas; three daughters Jacquie Edie (Dave Giannasi) of Rollinsville, Colorado, Jennifer Nolen (Joey Koonce) Overland Park, Kansas and Stephanie de la Cruz (Nicholas) of Groton, Connecticut; and eight grandchildren (Sabree, William and Trenton Koonce, Mychal Dole, Charlotte, Gabriel, Raphael and Daniel de la Cruz); mother, Rae Ellen Hinken, Sun City West, Arizona; sisters Kathy Hays (Richard) of Olathe, Kansas and Kristin Caress of Leavenworth, Kansas; Great-aunt, Frances "Nonee" Segerhammar; Beth (Jim) Lohmeyer and Ann (Rick) Lohmeyer; Jerry and Jane Gleason, and Bill Gleason. She was also dearly loved by her nieces, nephews, great-nieces, extended family and friends. She was preceded in death by her father, Dean Sanderson and stepfathers, Fred Van Pelt and Bill Hinken and niece, Jayme Hosier.

On March 20, the first day of Spring, in 1962 Karen was born in Denver Colorado to Dean and Ellen (Nelson) Sanderson. She was the second of three daughters and the family eventually moved to Leadville, Colorado. They attended Good Shepherd Lutheran Church where Karen was baptized and confirmed. She attended school in Leadville and graduated in 1980 From Lake County High School. During a brief marriage to Joe Nolen, Jacquie and Jennifer were born. After leaving Leadville, she married Dave Gleason on January 10, 1987, in Loveland, Colorado. To this union another daughter, Stephanie, joined the family. As a Navy family, they relocated to stations throughout the United States in California, Maryland, Texas and Connecticut, making lifelong friends in their churches and communities wherever they were. Karen and Dave settled in Leavenworth, Kansas, after their military journeys came to an end.

Karen's love and devotion to Dave and her girls was constant, and grew as new members were added to the family. She enjoyed a variety of creative activities and her craft cupboard was filled with crochet hooks, paper crafts, stamps, specialty cutters, jewelry making supplies and much more. She enjoyed her Swedish heritage and was proud to be a member of the Jesse Leavenworth Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The past two years fighting stage four lung cancer does not define who Karen was, but it did confirm the quality of her character. She daily demonstrated a grace and strength that was deep within her and the love and devotion she had for her Lord and her family. Throughout the long months of treatment she remained ever hopeful and cheerful. Even in pain she was able to make sure she said thank you and smiled at everyone who attended her. The family has been comforted by many friends and caregivers assurances of how much Karen meant to each of them and how much they will miss her smile.

There is a tradition among cancer patients to ring a bell when they have completed their treatment. Karen's treatments would be indefinite, but she was a participant in a study to help further cancer research. When the cancer grew beyond the boundaries of the study and she was dismissed from the research group; the treatment staff let her ring a bell for completing the study phase of treatment. Since that day in May she had celebrated the completion of each day by ringing a bell and singing "Jesus Loves Me."

Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong, they are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me; Yes, Jesus loves me; Yes, Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p m on April 23, 2016, at The Wine Bam, 2850 N 119th Kansas City, Kansas.

In lieu of flowers The Karen Gleason Memorial Fund has been established to help with medical expenses and a donation to the St. Luke's Cancer Center. Donations may be made with access code 9214560; in person at any Navy Federal Credit Union, checks may be mail to 301 Cheyenne St, Leavenworth, KS 66048 or by debit card by calling 888-842-6328.

Copyright 2015 The Courtland Journal, Courtland, Kansas. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 5, 2015

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