Karen Francis (White)  Thorn Profile Photo
1934 Karen 2016

Karen Francis (White) Thorn

March 16, 1934 — October 11, 2016

Karen W. Thorn, 82, passed away peacefully October 11, 2016 surrounded by her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Born March 16, 1934, she was the youngest of three children born to Grant and Elsie White, in Spanish Fork Utah.  Raised on the family farm, Karen developed a love of the outdoors, farming, animals and learned early the value of hard and honest work.

Karen graduated from Spanish Fork High School with high honors where she was active in student government, debate and a member of the National Honor Society.  She received a four-year academic scholarship to Brigham Young University.

She was a member of the Days of 47 Royalty and was a professional model.  Her career began in the private sector at Geneva Steel but opportunities soon led her to public service where she was Deputy County Treasurer.  She and her family moved to Washington DC where she worked for former Congressmen Sherman Lloyd and Lawrence Burton.  Upon returning to Utah she worked for 26 years for former U.S. Senator Jake Garn and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch.  In addition, she served on the Advance Team for four United States Presidents.

She was past president of the Utah Federation of Republican Women, past president of the Utah County Women’s Legislative Council and past president of the Utah State Women’s Legislative Council.  She served on the Governors Board for Improving Family Relations and became Chair of the Mountain View Hospital Board.  She served on Springville City’s Comprehensive Planning Board, President-Central Utah Chapter American Society of Public Administrators, the Board of Utah Valley Community College and Chair of the Governors Board of Youth Corrections.  Karen is listed in “Who’s Who in American Women” and in “Outstanding Young Women of America” and has been given the Utah Valley Community College Business Woman of the Year award.

Karen enjoyed music and collected music boxes from around the world.  She was an artist, poet, published author and creator of beautiful handwork and porcelain treasures.  She enjoyed traveling.  In 1989, Karen and Jim, with their six adult children were sealed in the Salt Lake temple.  One of her greatest joys was planning an annual temple retreat to celebrate that special occasion by going to temples throughout the west.  She never left the house without being 100% ready in every detail. By her own admission, without question, her greatest love and accomplishment is being a mother of six children.  A devoted compassionate caregiver, an example to many, she will be missed but never forgotten.

Karen is survived by her children:  Debra (Dennis) DeRose of Draper; Richard (Sherrie) Thorn of Herriman; Ryan (Robin) Thorn, South Jordan; Emily (Brent) Wiscombe of Orem; Kyle Thorn of Springville and Karalee (Lindsay) Peterson of Mapleton; 17 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren.  Preceded in death by her husband Jim.

Funeral services have been arranged by Wheeler Mortuary.  Viewing scheduled for Sunday, October 16 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Wheeler Mortuary, 211 East 200 South, Springville, Utah.  Funeral service scheduled for Monday, October 17 with a viewing from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., Funeral 11:00 a.m. at the Springville 2nd Ward LDS Chapel located at 1785 E. 400 So., Springville, Utah.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Karen Francis (White) Thorn, please visit our flower store.


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