Karin (Kaja) Englund

Englund-Eek, Karin “Kaja” (nee Guttormsen)

photo of Kaja Englund

Kaja Englund

On Wednesday August 9, 2017, Kaja Englund, beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend to all she met, went home to Jesus, after 94 wonderful years.

Kaja will be fondly remembered by her four boys, Ola (Gayle), John (Lori), Norm, and George (Carolyn), thirteen grandchildren, Ryan, Leslie, Chrissy, Tobi, Kirk, Jonathan, Justin, Anna, Christian, Sarah, Brittany, Danae, Kaja, and great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and many dear loving friends. Kaja was predeceased by her parents Oscar and Nora Guttormsen, husband Eric Englund, husband Kjell Eek-Kristiansen, sister Liv (Kaare) Jansen, sister Norma (Casper) Lien, and brother Ola Guttormsen.

Kaja was born in Larvik, Norway on September 4th, 1922 to Oscar and Nora Guttormsen.

photo of Kaja Englund - 1943

Kaja 1943

She had three sisters, Liv, Norma, Tove, and one brother, Ola. She spent most of her years growing up in Drammen, Norway. She was a very active young girl, swimming with the Drammen’s Swim Club, ice skating (wanting to be the next Sonja Henie), scouting, dancing, and later acting in Drammen’s Theater. She worked in her father’s watch and clock shop, and later at a photography studio.

Then World War II came. Kaja worked for the Norwegian Underground movement secretly delivering messages during the German occupation of Norway. Both she and her brother Ola were arrested and spent time in the “Grini” concentration camp toward the end of the war. Kaja’s prison number was 19606, she remembered it all the remaining years of her life.

After the war was over, Kaja was in her mid 20’s and ready for an adventure. She accepted an invitation from her favorite Aunt Anna to take a ship across the Ocean to the United States in 1948. (Tante Anna Hought lived to the age of 109.) Kaja visited aunts and uncles in Malta, Montana and Seattle, Washington. She planned to head home to Norway but while in Seattle met Eric Englund, a “Swede” and Boeing supervisor. Eric and Kaja were married on November 29, 1949 and raised four boys, Ola, John, Norm and George on the waterfront of southeast Mercer Island, Washington.

Mom rosemalling

Kaja’s accomplishments besides being the designated neighborhood mom (I suppose living on the water helped a little) were many. She taught ballet for 3-4 years. She became well known in the Northwest as an artist. She dedicated herself to the Norsk folk art of Rosemaling (Norwegian Rose Painting). She taught and sold her beautiful art work and won several awards. Kaja’s highlights in her Rosemaling career were representing Norwegian folk art at the World’s Fair in Spokane, Washington in 1974 and she had the honor of presenting King Olav V of Norway a personally rosemaled bench in 1975! Oh ya! She was a great mom too!!

Kaja was married to Eric for close to 40 years. After being widowed for a few years she became reacquainted with her high school boyfriend in Norway, Kjell Eek-Kristiansen, a well-known landscape and portrait artist. Kjell and Kaja were married in 1993, they enjoyed 10 years together spending their summers in Drammen, Norway and the remainder of the year in Bothell, Washington.

Kaja resided the past 40 years in Bothell were she was active with the Sons of Norway. She participated each year in their “Heritage Day” in the spring and in their “Norwegian Christmas Bazaar” in the fall displaying and selling her rosemaling pieces.

Kaja had spent her last 6 months at the Garden Club (assisted care facility) in Bellevue prior to her passing away at 94 on August 9, 2017. She will be greatly missed by her four boys and their wives, all the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews and all the many friends she made wherever she went.

Memorial Service – The family is planning a “Celebration of Kaja’s Life” get-together on November 4, 2017, 4:00 p.m., at the Clubhouse at Greenacres Park in Bothell, Washington.

Address- 23825 15th Ave SE Bothell WA 98021
Phone contact: 206-510-4519 (John)

Memorial donations in memory of Kaja Englund may be made to:

Bothell Medic One (King County) 20811 84th Ave S, Suite 102, Kent, WA 98032.
Evergreen Hospice-12822 124th Ln NE, Kirkland, WA 98034
Sons of Norway (Bothell)- 23905 Bothell Everett Hwy, Bothell, WA 98021

2 Responses to “Karin (Kaja) Englund”

  • Bill Hicks Bothell Sons of Norway says:

    Kaja will be greatly missed. She was a grand lady and a good friend. I will miss her smile and her hugs

  • Liv Braaten says:

    I really miss Kaja. She was such a good friend. I will cherish our memories of going to Ballard together and buying fish pudding for lunch and her favorite, kringle for dessert. She had many family gatherings and she always included me in them so I felt like part of the Englund Family.

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