Karen Maria (Martin) Rudolph passed away at her home on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, her family beside her. A graveside service will be held for Karen on Friday, April 23, 2021, at 11:00 a.m. at Mt Hope Cemetery. A celebration of life will follow at Ilo's home at 1425 Colorado Ave. from noon to 2:00 p.m.
She was born in Everett, Washington, on September 20, 1945, as the second daughter of Dan and Nan Martin. She spent her early childhood on a small farm in Bellingham, Washington. Karen began her career with livestock with Mulligan, a Hereford steer. She trained him to pull a cart, ride with a saddle and rein. A year later, the family acquired Nellie, a fine old kid's horse, who would carry all the kids at one time. Summers picking strawberries, raspberries, and beans funded the purchase of a three-year-old standard bred mare, fresh off the Sulky Racing Track, and named her "Jypse." Karen was off and running, literally.
Karen was fourteen when the family moved to Baker. A house with a large lot provided room for the family and the stock that came with them. A short time later, a small acreage on the east edge of town was purchased and housed the family and livestock. There Karen and her siblings raised bummer lambs, milked cows, and had their horses.
Karen was seventeen when she began living her dream. The family purchased a piece of land south of Baker, large enough to be called a ranch. It could support a cattle herd, sheep, her horses, and various other habits more suited to ranch living.
Karen married Tom Rudolph on September 5, 1965, in Baker City. She and Tom followed various paths into the future. A year later, Tom was inducted into the Army. Tom ended up in Germany. Karen followed and set up housekeeping for them. They were allowed time to tour Europe. They toured Germany, Scandinavia, Holland, and Austria.
Karen and Tom returned to live and work in LaGrande, Hermiston, and Bend. That adventure ended, and they became TK Construction in Baker City. Karen kept books, helped design and decorated the houses.
Changing times caught up with the business, and a small ranch became available. Creative finances and circumstances came together, and Karen began living her dream again. The property needed her expert guidance. She did that, and the ranch began to bloom. Her foresight, planning, and hard work finished raising three daughters and built a small ranch with productive land and livestock. This became a reality for her.
She worked on the election board each year, enrolled her children in 4-H, led them around the county to various events and rodeo court tryouts. She then had to haul them and their horses to the various rodeo court events. She still had time to spend 30 years preparing taxes with H and R Block.
Karen believed in education. Each of her daughters finished college at her insistence. Now grandchildren have been pushed into higher education.
Karen is survived by her husband of 56 years, Tom; daughters: Katrina Rudolph-Wise, Heather Rudolph, and Sara Rudolph; grandchildren Zachary, Phoebe, and Alex Wise; her sisters, Cherryl Martin, Daphne Hall, and llo Widman, all in Baker City; and her brother Dan Martin of Harper.
She was preceded in death by her parents Dan and Nan Martin.
Karen loved flowers, especially wildflowers. However, she firmly believed in donating to charities rather than sending flowers when someone passed. Her favorite charities were the Arthritis Foundation and the Shrine Hospital for Children. This may be done through Coles Tribute Center, 1950 Place Street, Baker City, OR 97814.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Karen M. Rudolph, please visit our floral store.