Karen Leigh Stickley Ellis

September 24, 1939 to December 3, 2014


Karen Leigh Stickley Ellis, wife, sister, mother, grandmother and friend of many, passed away on December 3, 2014.  She faced a long illness but was surrounded by family and friends who stayed by her side, called, and sent cards to let her know how special she was to us all. It was this outpouring of love which helped her face her journey with courage.


Karen was born in Missoula, MT on September 24, 1939 to Lewis H. Stickley and Myrtle H. Holmes. The family moved to Washington during World War II where her father worked at the Shipyard in Kirkland. Karen and her sisters, Marilyn and Susan, maintained a close relationship throughout the years.


A Bothell High School class of ’57 honors graduate, Karen participated in lots of school activities including acting as the Annual Editor her senior year. She was part of the hub that kept the special class of ’57 uniquely connected and close.


Her sharp mind and clever wit was capitalized on over the 28yrs she spent as an Office Manager at Nissho Iwai American Corp. where she made life-long friends. She retired in 2000.


Karen was loved by many and had her family close by in the Kirkland area where she raised her three daughters Leigh Ann, Kathy, and Julee. Her sister Marilyn and aunts lived nearby as well and her sister Susan often came to visit. Karen had many happy memories from the Kirkland Eagles club and playing Bingo with her mother and aunts every Monday night.


In 1989 Karen designed her dream house on Whidbey Island, built step by step over a period of years. You could find her there cooking, playing cards, visiting with friends, or doing puzzles while she soaked up the magnificent view she loved so well.


When Karen met Bill in 2003 through mutual friends there was an instant connection. They held a secret long distance romance before happily marrying in January 2004. Together they alternated their time between Washington and Arizona building a lifetime of memories in the near 11 years they had together. They both said those years were the best years of their lives.


How can you capture a lifetime of lovely memories of Karen’s life? She loved to travel and relished trips to Europe, Panama Canal, and a trip floating down the Colorado. Karen loved cards including her monthly Pinochle dinner with her high school classmates, cooking dinners for others, and cheering on her granddaughter, Kaylin, in everything she did in life. Karen had many hobbies included reading books shared by friends, beating everybody at scrabble, and winning at the casino. We will all miss her terribly. Including those famous short bread cookies.


Karen is survived by her husband Bill Ellis; Sisters Marilyn (Martin) Telgenhoff, Susan Ruddell; Daughters Leigh Ann James, Kathy Sturges, and Julee (Kurt) Wilson; Granddaughter Kaylin Wilson, Grandson Brian James, and many nieces and nephews.

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