David Maurice Karr
was born in Oakland, California, the oldest of three children
born to William Delbert “Bert” Karr of San Francisco, CA
and Ada May (Coates) Karr of Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. In 1938,
the family moved to an 80-acre, unimproved farmstead near
Stayton, Oregon. After finishing his freshman year at Stayton
Union High School, the family moved to Mill City where he was
a class officer at Mill City High School. David was
academically gifted and made education a priority for himself
and his family. During his senior year, teacher Fred Rugh
urged David to consider college and personally escorted him to
Eugene to visit the University of Oregon. No one in the family
had attended college, but much to his mother’s distress, he
left for college in the fall of 1949. He thrived, studying
accounting and finance and as the Korean War escalated,
enrolled in ROTC.
David met Nettie
Juanita “Nita” Schaffer in the fall of 1952. Nita had
completed nurse’s training at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane
and was at the University of Oregon to earn a BSN. They were
married in January of 1954 and within weeks, moved to Ft.
Eustis, Virginia where David reported for officers training.
The Korean Truce was signed ten days prior to his expected
orders for Korean duty, so he was assigned to the 6th Army HQ at the Presidio in San Francisco. After completing his
Army duty, he was hired by a Portland CPA firm and among his
first audit clients was Stayton Canning Company, now NORPAC
Foods. In 1958, after his third audit at Stayton Canning, he
was offered a position as accounting manager and eventually
became the company’s CFO. David enjoyed a lengthy career at
Norpac Foods and retired after 37 years.
David and Nita had
three children, Sharon, born in 1957, Dan in 1959, and Kathryn
in 1966. He loved the outdoors and led an active lifestyle. He
taught his children, their friends and his nieces to snow ski
and spent the weekends exploring the outdoors all over Oregon.
David was one of Oregon's first bicycle commuters. One of his
proudest accomplishments was that all three of his children
earned a Bachelor’s degree.
After 32 years of
marriage, David and Nita divorced and in December of 1987,
David remarried to Norma Gemar Kulbel. David never had sharp
eye sight and had worn glasses his entire life. In his 50s he
experienced a significant decrease in his vision and a
diagnosis of Retinitis Pigmentosa confirmed that his
retirement would not be what he had planned. Norma graciously
became David’s chauffeur, facilitating his community
involvement. Even though he lost his eyesight, he saw more in
life than most people ever see and never let that slow him
down. David and Norma were married for 27 years until
Norma’s passing in 2014.
David was a leader
in the Stayton United Methodist Church since 1959, sang in the
choir and held multiple church offices. He was elected to
several terms on the Stayton School Board and served as a
volunteer on the boards of the Lions Club, Willson House,
Marion Polk Food Share, Stayton Chamber of Commerce and the
Stayton Library Foundation. David was known for his
determination, relentless focus on a goal, and his expectation
that everyone around him do their best. In honor of his many
years of community involvement, he was awarded Stayton Man of
the Year award in 1977 and 1996 and Stayton’s First Citizen
David is survived by
his three children, his sister Mary (Karr) Sjogren of
Sheridan, sister-in-law Linda (Gemar) Mitchell of Rapid City,
South Dakota, step-daughter Shirley (Kulbel) Porter of Scio,
five grandchildren, Brittany, Zachary, Jamie, Luke and Jaclyn
Karr, five nieces Sarah, Wendi, Stephanie, Stacie and Valarie.
The family is grateful for Maureen Heiser, David’s loyal
caregiver for the past 18 months.
In leiu of flowers,
please direct contributions to the Stayton United Methodist
Church, the Stayton Library Foundation or the Foundation
David wishes were to
be cremated. There will be a wake held with his ashes present
on Saturday, January 30th from 3pm-6pm at the Stayton Public
Library, 515 N First Avenue, Stayton. A memorial service is
scheduled for Sunday, January 31 at 3 pm at the Stayton United
Methodist Church, 1450 Fern Ridge Rd SE, Stayton.