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David M. Karr
July 17, 1932 – January 27, 2016

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 in 2006.

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 Fighting Blindness.

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.

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