August 9, 1950 ~ January 6, 2019

Born in: Alamosa, Colorado
Resided in: Aurora, Colorado

Our beloved Patricia Karen Johnson, passed away on January 6, 2019 at the age of 68 leaving a void in our hearts as large as the love she held in her heart for all of us. There are some special people in the world whose positive affirmation of life shows the rest of us how to live a beautiful life, how to not just endure the painful things that happen but to grow as humane people as our response to such pain. Karen was one of those special people. She would laugh if we were to call her our matriarch, but she is the person in our extended family who made us an extended family.

The generations of children who grew up calling her “Auntie K”, or “Aunt Pat”, were both her nieces and nephews by blood as well as those who she wholeheartedly and unquestionably adopted into the family. Regardless of familial affiliation, all of them understand how she grew our family with her love. Her warmth embraced us all. She and her beloved husband Jimi, who preceded her death in death, were the hosts and organizers of countless family get-togethers large and small. Their celebration of family taught us how precious we are to each other. Karen’s parents, who were farmers and the children of Italian immigrant farmers, would gather at a different farm each Sunday and prepare a meal together. Karen and her many cousins would have the run of each farm to play together to their hearts’ content. That tradition of frequent family gatherings, now nearly a century old, would have been lost had Karen not carried it on for a new generation.

She was there for her family members not just in times of celebration, but also in times of need. Her and Jimi’s door was always wide open to those in need, and over the years, family members and friends would stay with them as they got back on their feet after being knocked down from some personal challenge. Quietly, Karen and Jimi helped other family members in their times of need and did so in many ways, from financial assistance, to guidance, to simply listening. The impact of their positive acts of love loom large both within the family as well as amongst extended family and friends.

What Karen gave us all is the more remarkable because she had to mount a constant struggle throughout her life simply to survive. Born with a major heart defect, doctors had little hope of her living beyond childhood. She was the first recipient of an experimental surgery aimed at repairing heart defects like hers. Though initially successful, the repair would fail at intervals through her life, bringing her near death and thus requiring repeated open-heart surgeries and painful recoveries. The army of those who love her felt very protective of her, but in truth, Karen’s inner strength radiated outward and gave them strength. The joy she took in life and the optimism she projected so strikingly to all who knew and loved her never wavered. Her positivity inspired us and put the comparatively trivial trials in our lives in perspective. She made us better than we ever would have been had she not graced our lives.

We feel her loss profoundly. We are grateful for the time she could be with us. It was not long enough, although it never would have been.

The family asks that those wishing to honor her legacy consider a donation in her name to:

The American Heart Association or to Denver Hospice.

Please give your condolences to the Holten and Johnson Family.

Services

Memorial Service: January 12, 2019 10:00 am

Horan & McConaty - SE Denver/Aurora
11150 E. Dartmouth Ave.
Aurora, CO 80014


Room: Family Chapel

Reception: January 12, 2019 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

HeartLight
11150 E. Dartmouth Ave.
Aurora, CO 80014


Room: Reception Hall

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Memories Timeline

Guestbook

  1. We will truly miss you Auntie Karen! Your smile always lit up the room. Your kindness and compassion for others was unending. You were a ray of sunshine in our lives! We love you. Rest In Peace with Jimmie.

  2. Dearest Pat,
    You made everyone who entered your life feel like family. Thank you for all you did, exuding your love and light.
    Rest in God’s arms, dear friend.

  3. It has been such a privilege for me to have had you as a friend. I only wish the time had been longer. Losing someone we love is always a sad reminder of the value of friendship and the love of family. May you rest in peace, my friend.

  4. Love you Auntie K! <3 Missing your beautiful smile and presence! Thank you for always making me feel like family. I'm so grateful for being able to spend time with you in Colorado this past year — Love, D

  5. I truly believe that Karen was the sweetest person I ever met. She always spoke in a very soft tone and if she ever raised her voice I missed it. She helps so many women who were struggling with challenges in their life and touched so many hearts. Whenever I would see her this huge Bright Smile would come on her face and a hug is all it took to be reacquainted with such an angel. I am grateful to have known her in my life. I am grateful she is in heaven sitting next to several of my family members and several of her friends like Lynnie. I will always try to emulate the way she was with people which was loving kind and tolerant. She always lent an ear to anybody who needed it. And she always had time for people. Although we all know we are going to die losing her has taken a huge chunk out of my heart but I will always be grateful that I got to know her and love her as many of us have. Rest in peace you sweetest of angelsm

  6. Dear sweet sissy, “Auntie Karen” you have been the glue that has held our family together all these years. You were the “Queen Bee” of our family. If Angels walk the earth, you were without a doubt one of them. When you weren’t well, you never, ever complained. A few weeks ago, you said you were so thankful for every second you had left. You were the most positive, spiritual and loving person I have ever known. Your love and presence in all of our lives will be greatly missed. Thank you for being a second Mommy to my children. You were always there when they needed you. There are no words that can express how much they loved you. You adopted so many neice’s and nephew’s and treated them as family. They all, for the most part, followed your advice and your expectations for them as young adults. You were always there to listen to them and bestow your wisdom, your values, and share your worldly advice with them. They loved and respected you so much, as we all did. .You were kindest soul I have ever known. You loved everyone unconditionally. I love you with all my heart and never would have survived the hardest times in my life without you. I’m know you will be our Guardian Angel in Heaven and watch over us. You are with sweet Uncle Jimi, your Mom, Dad, and so many others that have passed. Your pain and suffering are gone. I love you Auntie K, Rest In Peace Sweet Angel! ❤️ Your Di Da Dolly ❤️

  7. Charles and Family,
    So sorry for the loss of your sister. You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. May your memories of her ease your grief.

  8. Shirley Anderson Horrace

    She was the best cousin ever. Her and Jimmi always made you feel welcomed and treated you like royalty when you came to visit. Karen was always worried about everyone making sure they were happy and alright. She never liked to talk about herself. She was a ray of sunshine and we will all miss her. It won’t be the same without her.

  9. Pat was a beautiful, kind, loving soul I was so fortunate to know. Her warmth and giving spirit helped me (and countless others) find their best selves. I’ve truly, truly miss her.

  10. I will miss my beautiful cousin Karen. what everyone says about her, I agree with. I’ll always remember her sweet voice and sweet nature. She definitely was full of love and compassion for everyone. She is now with her Jimmie.

  11. When I think of KAREN and her legacy of endless Joy! I reflect on family first. smile as big as you can and always look for the silver lining in life as she showed us so well throughout her challenges in life. It is especially touching to know that our daughter Riviera was touched by so much joy through her relationship with Karen and it is my duty and our families to keep passing these amazing traits on to our next generations of Joy Family and Love God bless you will never be forgotten
    The Fitzpatrick’s/Campbell’s

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