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“Karen is one of the most awesome ladies I have ever had the privilege to know! She was not only compassionate, but strong, caring and fun-loving. We...Read More »
1 of 1 | Posted by: Diana Van Cleve - Aurora, CO

Karen L. Atwell, née Phelps, of Yucca Valley, passed away April 26th, 2016 at age 74. She was born in Albany, California to Cyril and Merle (Sartor) Phelps on December 18th, 1941. She later moved with her family to Compton, California. She skipped a grade at Emerson Elementary and attended Compton High School where she wrote for the school newspaper and was a member of the yearbook commitee.

When first married, Karen lived with her first husband, Tom Atwell, in Santa Barbara, California. She and her family then lived briefly in Oxnard and then on a ranch in Sunland before settling in Fountain Valley for five years. Her family then moved to Parker, Colorado for another five years before returning to California to live in Huntington Beach. Karen later returned to Colorado and lived in Denver for 14 years before retiring with her second husband, Bob Carroll, in Yucca Valley, California.

Karen began working at 16, and was highly valued by her employers and coworkers alike at Commercial Credit, GM, Ultrasystems, the City of Huntington Beach, the City of Aurora, and Yucca Valley High School.

Wherever she went, Karen made many friends. She was quick-witted, fun-loving, vivacious, generous and charismatic, and she had a flair for mischief and madcap fun. She loved helping down-and-out people and pets, volunteering at homeless shelters and animal shelters. She was adventurous, and loved taking "mystery trips" to unknown destinations. In their retirement, Karen and Bob enjoyed RV excursions with their dog Ginger. Karen liked film festivals and live theater and was a voracious reader.

She leaves behind her beloved husband Bob Carroll of Yucca Valley; her son Michael Atwell of San Diego; her daughter and son-in-law, Melissa and Peter Spurr of Joshua Tree; her sister Vivian Newton of Huntington Beach and Vivian's children and grandchildren; her granddaughter, Amelia; her husband's children whom she loved dearly, Robert Carroll, Jr., Angela Carroll, Maria Carroll and Vanessa Varney and 9 beloved grandchildren through them. She also leaves behind her cat, Lois, and her much adored rescue dogs, Dexter and Dolly.

She is preceded in death by her parents, Cyril and Merle Phelps, her brother, Ronald G. Phelps, and her nephew, William "Billy" Newton.

A celebration of Karen's life will be held on Wednesday, May 11th at 4:00 p.m. at Wiefel's Funeral Chapel in Yucca Valley at 57285 Yucca Trail, Yucca Valley, CA 92284. A reception at Karen and Bob's home in Yucca Valley will follow.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the American Cancer Society and/or the Morongo Basin Humane Society (