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Karen Elizabeth Nelson

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Karen Elizabeth Nelson (Surina)

March 5, 1944 - January 21, 2015


It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Karen Elizabeth Nelson (nee Surina) on Wednesday, January 21, 2015, after a short stay at the Kootenay Lake Hospital. 

She was born in Nelson, BC on March 5, 1944 to John and Lib Surina, along with big brother Ken.  Karen came from a large family which originally settled the Shutty Bench area north of Kaslo in the late 1800’s. She was also fortunate to have her maternal family close by as well, including her grandmother in New Denver.  She met the love of her life and married George Nelson from Silverton and they spent 50 happy years together raising their family, exploring and running their businesses.  They designed and built their houses in Kaslo and Mirror Lake, where she lived for most of her life. 

Karen was an excellent student and excelled at sports.   Badminton, basketball, track and field and swimming were among her favourites.  She used to tell stories about swimming across Kootenay Lake on the May long weekend in her younger years and working as a lifeguard at Kaslo beach.  Karen spent countless hours outdoors hiking, picnicking, camping and boating with her family and especially cherished her time spent at Lost Ledge.  She also loved music and used to entertain everyone playing the piano and accordion.  Family was everything to her and she loved getting regular updates on the lives of her children, grandchildren and holiday visits were very special times.  She really enjoyed playing cards and board games, bird watching and throwing parties, especially on New Year’s Eve.

Karen first worked as a telephone operator and then a bookkeeper for T&H Sawmill, but she was known by most people in the area first as the co-owner of K & G Clothes Hanger and later the Kaslo Home Hardware. 

Karen was active in the community when raising her family, with the Kinsmen & Kinettes, the figure skating club and enjoyed brightening Front Street with her elaborate holiday storefront decorations.   She was a majorette for the school marching band and felt privileged to be asked to be on the final voyage of the SS Moyie in 1957.

Kaslo May Days were very special to her as it often meant the family was coming home.  You could always find her at the ball diamond watching the slow pitch tournament along the first base line.  She adored the maypole dance as it brought back fond memories as she and all of her children had participated in it over the years.  She also had some great laughs watching her grandchildren in the egg and spoon and sack races.

Karen, with a lot of help from George, had a beautiful home that attracted many visitors to view their extensive flower gardens and Halloween and Christmas light decoration displays.  She enjoyed canning almost everything and her strawberry jam was particularly delicious.  She was very artistic and loved to draw, sew and paint ceramics.

Karen is survived by her husband George, her children Klay (Sarah), Kent (Kelley) and Kara, and her grandchildren Hannah, Sam, Sophie, Ross and Gabe.

Karen did not want a memorial service and in lieu of flowers please make a donation to the SPCA, one of her favourite charities and in memory of all of the animals she loved and saved over the years.


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: Thompson Funeral Service Ltd. Staff

Thompson Funeral Service Ltd. Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Gerry and Betty Ordway
Relation: Friemd

George and family. We are very much saddened by your lose.

Knowing your family was very much a positive in our young lives.

Love: Gerry and Betty Ordway

From: Jill Braley
Relation: Friend

Hi George, Both Larry and I were truly saddened to learn that Karen has passed away. I know you will miss her dearly. You are in our thoughts.

From: Effie and Bill Noble
Relation: Customer/Friend

George and family
We were very saddened to learn of Karen’s passing. We didn’t know her well, but we were very fond of her. We enjoyed listening to her laugh on those occasions that we were in the store. We appreciated her gifts of plants and bulbs. We know she has left an enormous hole in your hearts, but hopefully your memories will fill it before too much longer.

From: norman command
Relation: friend

Sorry for your loss I have fond memories of you and Karen.And the good old ball games.

From: Darlene Johnson
Relation: Kaslo resident

I liked Karen. I admired her & looked up to her. I was impressed by her strength of character. Knowing the rest of the family and having Kelly work with us (at Digital Services) in the late 1990s was a pleasure too. George, my parents (Mary & Ole) always spoke fondly of the Nelson family & appreciated knowing them in Silverton. Thanks for the good service your family provided for the community during your years of hard work at the hardware store. In later years, I was amazed that Karen tended to Lib in the morning before going to to work. I’m glad Karen helped keep operations together at T&H so local employment was available for families. My girls (Dalouie, Sandy, Abby) benefited from figure skating lessons which were only possible due to the efforts of parents like Karen. I’m sorry Karen had to deal with medical problems during her last years. She’s been a good example to us all of how to enjoy a full life!

From: Mary White
Relation: Sister-in-law

So sorry to hear your sad news, as I’m down with the shingles, a belated note to tell you how sad I feel about losing Karen. I will send a donation in her memory to the SPCA. My thoughts are with you all.

Service Schedule

Private service arrangements have been made.

Memorial Gifts

Memorial donations will be gratefully accepted to:


PO Box 66

Nelson, BC

V1L 5P7

Thank You Notice

Send Flowers

default-floralFloral Tributes may be ordered directly through our supplier. Please have the name of the deceased, the funeral date, the address and phone number of the delivery location for handy reference:

621B Herridge Lane, Nelson, BC V1L 7B3
Phone: (250) 352-5592

2870 Georama Rd, Nelson, BC V1L 6Y7
Phone: (250) 352-3468 / Toll Free: 1(800) 712-6797

Flowers & Yoga Studio
513 A  Front Street, Nelson, BC V1L 4B4
(250) 505-5222


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