Margaret “Karen” Gober

Margaret “Karen” Gober passed away with her family by her side, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. She was born in Everett, Wash., June 9, 1928, to Hazel (Carlson) and G. Samual Wangsness. Karen had one brother, Gerald, five years her elder.

She is remembered as a compassionate, hard working and optimistic person who was faith filled. Karen always strived to do the right thing. She was an elegant lady who was completely dedicated to her family.

Karen, a devout Christian, graduated from the Prairie Bible Institute and later, from the University of Washington. She went on to take graduate work in speech pathology and audiology. She married James B. Gober in 1956, and moved to Chehalis, Wash., in 1957, when Jim joined a local law firm. Karen worked for the Chehalis School District where she developed their special education program. Some would say she single-handedly brought the Special Olympics to the Chehalis area. She was also a member of American Association of University Women, St. Helen’s Club and the Adeline Coffman Orthopedic Guild. Karen and Jim were welcomed to this area by Dick and Marsha Carrington, (Haglund) which resulted in a friendship that lasted the ages. It also drew them in to the local Boy Scout program as young chaperones. Special friendships grew out of this group of scouting chaperones - the Carrington’s, the Carlson’s and the Dowd’s later became known as “The Lewis County Marching and Chowder Society”. After the birth of their sons, Fletcher in 1958, and Ryan 1960, they would become active parents in the scouts. Karen earned the 100-miler badge many times over taking part in the boys’ hikes and worked tirelessly to supply other scouts with needed equipment and appropriate clothing, haunting the thrift stores for used items or sewing them herself.  

Karen and Jim became members of the First Baptist Church of Chehalis and served the church in many ways. Many lasting friendships grew from the bible study for young adults that they hosted in their living room for more than a decade.  

After more than 30 years with the Chehalis Schools, having enriched the lives of scores of children and families who benefited from her tenuous advocacy and support of their special needs and issues, Karen retired from teaching in 1990. After retirement, she continued service at Grace Church and as a Hospice volunteer. After retirement, Karen and Jim traveled the world. They toured Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Dubai, China, Israel, spent time in Singapore and floated the rivers and canals of England besides the American southwest in their travel trailer.  

She was preceded in death by her husband of 59 years, Jim; parents; and brother.

Karen was a person who made a dent in the world, a life well lived with purpose. She will be missed by her sons, Fletcher (Sharon) of Chehalis and Ryan (Cindy Bourgeois) Hatfield, Pa.; granddaughters, Nicole Serrano (Anthony) of Chehalis, Claire Gober of Philadelphia, Pa., Lara Gober of Phoenixville, Pa., Lexie Gober of Bellingham, Wash., and Leandra Birch (Chelsea) of Maryville, Texas; and two great-grandchildren, Arcely and Avi Serrano of Chehalis.

A service celebrating Karen’s life will be held at 1 p.m., Feb. 29, 2020, at Grace Church, 1866 N. Market Blvd., Chehalis, WA 98532. Dessert and stories will follow in the Church Fellowship Hall.

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