Karen “Cris” Coffey passed away peacefully on August 16 around 11:20 p.m. We lost a bright light, but her light will live on in the lives of those she touched.
Cris had that rare combination of grace, beauty, humor and ease. Amazingly creative and full of joy for life, she shared her many talents first with her three sons, encouraging them to be curious and responsible in exploring the world around them, then throughout the rest of her life as she gave her heart and soul to the causes she championed. She was a true friend to those in need of a loving heart and a peaceful presence.
Her path led her to the Phoenix Institute in Salt Lake City, where she worked with Milly Dezelsky to assist people, especially women, in learning how to communicate assertively. Their collaborations took them south, where the two bought 10 acres together in Castle Valley. Working creatively with Emilee Curtis and the New Hats, Inc. project., they were soon known as the “Luv Sisters,” not only for the matching Chevy LUV trucks they drove but for their caring and communicating existence. They enriched the Castle Valley community through projects like the Talking Circle, which gave all an opportunity to express themselves deeply; The Castle Valley Times, a small monthly newsletter started with Jack Campell (it was a great little newspaper for a great little community and people loved it); and the Castle Valley Gourd Festival, started by Cris in 2001. The first year the festival was just a couple of vendors at her home, but it grew to be a much loved, yearly event, soon becoming too much for her to run alone so others have helped to take it over. Cris’s yearly Christmas Eve brunch, where she would recite a poem called “Old Santa Claus written by her grandmother, was an integral part of many people’s holiday tradition.
Cris poured her heart and her time into doing these things for the community she loved. All the while continuing her efforts as an artist/writer/editor. She was bright, sweet and cheerful to the end.
Thanks to the countless friends who called, wrote, visited and cared for her in her last few years. She always loved friendly faces, good stories and the “Rapid Rafter” at the Moab Diner. Thanks to those at Canyonlands Care Center for appreciating her laugh and keeping her safe in a crazy year.
There will be a graveside service for Kris in Manti on Oct. 9 at 10 a.m. with a memorial celebration in Castle Valley that afternoon at 4 p.m. For more information, contact Spanish Valley Mortuary.
You may send condolences to the family at www.SpanishValleyMortuary.com