Karen Coaldrake Obituary

Karen Faye Briscoe Coaldrake
Karen Coaldrake
Karen Faye Briscoe Coaldrake

April 29, 1959 - March 23, 2008
Born in Springfield, Illinois
Resided in Johnston, IA
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Karen Faye Briscoe Coaldrake, 48, began a new stage of her life long adventure when she left this world suddenly and unexpectedly Sunday March 23 to be with many friends and to make countless new friends.

Karen's adventure began April 29, 1959 in Springfield Illinois. She was adopted at birth by her amazing parents Helen and Nathan "Bud" Briscoe who raised in her to understand truth, hard work, independence, the rewards of pushing yourself just that little bit harder, the joys of friendship and the value of having fun.

Karen's life long learning opportunities saw her spend a semester in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1976 which took her love for travel, meeting new people, challenging herself by needing to become fluent in Spanish and having fun, to a new level.

Karen graduated from Drake University with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 1981. This stage of her adventure saw her spend a semester at La Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City.

A successful career at Pioneer Hi-Bred Int'l from 1981 through 1986 allowed Karen to continue to develop her communication and language skills, her love of traveling, meeting new people and developing lifelong friendships.

In 1986 she married Peter Coaldrake and moved to Kingaroy, Queensland Australia and used all of her talents as she included Peter in her adventure. Karen successfully integrated herself into small town Australian life, added new friends and continued to push and challenge herself, Peter and the small town to appreciate what they were and what they could be.

In 1987 Karen and Peter moved back to the US for the next stage of Karen's adventure. Karen obtained a M.S. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Illinois in 1991. After completing her degree she became the Food and Agribusiness Management Coordinator. This role provided Karen the opportunity to coordinate the Executives in Residence program, work with key business leaders and develop a unique program that pushed the limits of the traditional University course and the level of student interaction. During this period Karen published numerous articles, coauthored a book, but more importantly developed her understanding and the understanding of those around her of the importance of a balanced and full life.

The next stage of Karen's adventure began in 1991 with the birth of Justin Briscoe Coaldrake and in 1996, the birth of Tristan Nathan Donald Coaldrake. From day one, Karen raised her sons with the same passion, enthusiasm and love of life she was raised with and continued to develop throughout her adventure. She was the world's proudest mother and took great joy in watching the achievements of her sons and their friends.

In 1996, Karen and her family moved to Johnston and her adventure continued. She continued her career as an agricultural business consultant and became actively involved in the community. Karen volunteered countless hours in the Johnston School District, became active in PTO organizations and was elected to the Johnston School Board in 2006. Karen was just as passionate in pushing for the addition of all day kindergarten as she was in bringing happiness to a single student through a simple smile or high five in the hallway. The hallways of the Johnston schools will simply not be the same without Karen.

Karen's adventure continued as she developed a love of sports through watching her boys participate and following the success of the "Illini". Her love of watching soccer resulted in many volunteer hours, challenging thoughts and comments and ultimately becoming a board member of the Johnston Soccer Board.

On a personal level Karen's love of sports saw her take up running and challenging herself to complete at first 3 and 5 kilometer runs, the Dam to Dam, half marathons and ultimately 4 marathons. Marathons encompassed all Karen's loves, traveling, pushing oneself beyond their comfort zone, making new friends and having fun along the way. Karen's enthusiasm for running was passed onto her sons with both boys providing friendly rivalry and yet another reason for Karen to be proud of her sons' and their friends' achievements.

Karen's adventure in this world was truly unique and everyone that was included in her adventure has fond memories of the sparkle in her eyes, her hearty laugh, her love of life and her ability to make everyone she met feel like her best friend ……………. She will be truly be missed.

The Iowa Organ Donor Network will allow Karen's adventure to continue through others.

Karen is survived by her sons Justin and Tristan, her husband Peter, her sister Janet Lykins and her mother Helen Briscoe. Karen is preceded in death by her father, 'Bud" Briscoe.

Visitation will be 5 to 9pm Friday March 28, 2008 at the First Baptist Church in Johnston. A celebration of Karen's life will be held at 10:00am Saturday, March 29, 2008 at the First Baptist Church, Johnston, IA.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting memorial contributions be made to the Johnston Education Foundation – Karen Coaldrake Memorial Fund. For information contact the Johnston School district office at 278-0470 or visit their website http://www.johnston.k12.ia.us/foundation/aboutus.html

She may be gone, but she lives on


Click here to view memorial folder




First Baptist Church--Johnston
8250 N.W. 62nd Avenue
Johnston, IA US 50131
Friday, March 28, 2008
5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
First Baptist Church -- Johnston
8250 NW 62nd Avenue
Johnston, IA US 50131
Saturday, March 29, 2008
10:00 AM