Karen Uvon McCay Calhoon passed away June 27, 2023, at the age of 82. Karen, a devoted wife, mother, and grandmother, was love personified. She was known for her unassuming beauty that radiated from a heart that had a deep and unstoppable love for children. While raising her own children, it was not unusual to find a child in need of protection or care living with the Calhoons and reaping the benefits of Karen’s guidance. Some of those “extra kids” lived in the Calhoon household off and on for several years.
While Karen perfected the art of loving her own children, her devotion to her grandchildren was unmatched. She enjoyed babysitting and never missed an activity involving her grandkids. It would be hard to count the times she stepped in to babysit or chauffeur them from one activity to another. It is, however, safe to say that she never said “no.”
Karen was born in Beaver, Oklahoma, on November 14, 1940, as the younger sister to Kevin and the second child of Dona Marie (Brown) and Allan Simmons McCay. She grew up on the family farm southwest of Beaver and within walking distance of cousins Anne, Johnita, and Donald Brown. Karen got her first horse when the bus came by to pick up slightly older cousin Donald for his first day of school. Karen stood outside crying and couldn’t be consoled because she was not able to join him until the following year. She was heartbroken. In an attempt to stop the tears, her dad pointed to the small pony in the pasture and said, “If you will stop crying, I’ll give you ole Smokey.” The tears stopped and the transaction was made.
Karen was familiar with the legendary antics of the youngest of the Calhoon siblings, Dean H. Jr. (Deech). But it wasn’t until he hit her on the back of the head with a pickle during a Saturday matinee that the romance began. They were married August 30, 1956, and made their home in Alva, Oklahoma, for the next 30-plus years. While living in Alva, Karen was active in the United Methodist Church and Jaycee Jaynes, and made life-long friends through her employment at both the Soil Conservation Service and the Woods County Treasurer’s office.
Deech’s career took them first to Yukon in 1987, followed by Elk City in 1990. During this time, Karen pivoted into becoming a successful real estate agent. While in Elk City, she and Deech taught the young adult Sunday School class, and she delighted in inviting this group of young friends into her home on many a Sunday morning for breakfast. Karen was an excellent cook and homemaker, and she enjoyed making friends and family feel welcome in her home. Karen moved back to the Oklahoma City metro area after the death of Deech in 1993 and continued her real estate business.
The early and murky years as a new widow were brightened immensely by the arrival of her very favorite things in life, her grandkids. First came Cory, followed in quick succession by Madeleine, Brianna, and Jacob. Suddenly, the caring but rather strict parent that Mark and Brenda remembered was replaced by a grandmother who was hellbent on spoiling grandkids and including them in her legendary antics that will be shared and reshared for generations. It is a given that her grandchildren will never again look at a Texas sheet cake and not think of their Grandma Karen. And a smile will cross their face each time they map directions and remember how their grandmother set the GPS voice to rough sailor with the language to match. Then, when she had them in her car, she would enter a random, incorrect address just so they could hear the sailor cuss each time they made a wrong turn.
Karen and Deech raised two children: John Mark and Brenda Lee. Their four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren were Karen’s joy: Cory Fahringer, Madeleine, Brianna, and Jacob Calhoon; Hunter and Caleb Fahringer. She is also survived by daughter-in-law, Valerie Calhoon; son-in-law, Michael Sheik; and granddaughters-in-law, Sarah Fahringer and Rylie Calhoon. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dean H. Calhoon Jr. (Deech), and brother, Kevin.
Karen’s devotion to those she loved, her sense of humor, and spunky spirit will be missed by all.
The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, you do something loving for a child. Suggestions: Call the local school and pay off an overdue meal account for a kid or drop off a birthday cake at a homeless shelter. It is a safe bet that some child will be celebrating a birthday soon.
Services for Karen will be conducted by Herb Bridgewater and held at 1:00p.m. Friday, June 30 at the Methodist Church in Beaver Oklahoma with internment to follow at the Pioneer Cemetery, also in Beaver. Visitation with the family will be held Thursday from 6:00-7:00p.m. at Clark Funeral Service.