Karen Stein, 80, of Gillette passed away peacefully on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021.

She was born April 5, 1941, in Cando, North Dakota,  where she lived with her parents Melvin and Maxine Pederson and her sister Katherine.

During her childhood, Karen learned the art of singing and acting, often singing solos at the Cando Lutheran Church. She was also a lifeguard at the Cando city pool. After graduating from high school in Cando in 1959, she attended Minot State Teachers College, where she perfected her singing and acting, appearing as the lead in notable plays as “Kiss Me Kate,” along with several others.

While serving with her first husband in the U.S. Air Force, she continued her career in music and acting in several locations including the U.S. Canal Zone. Here, she starred in many plays including, “Oliver,” “Showboat,” “Brigadoon” and “My Fair Lady.”

In 1972, Karen returned with her four children to North Dakota and completed her college education at MSTC with a degree in music. She taught music, band and Spanish for several years in Antler, North Dakota, where she met TJ.

Later she became the music teacher at Campbell County School District, where she taught music for 19 years. She taught private piano lessons to many students. She was active in the Gillette Chapter of the American Legion, Eagles Lodge and Moose Lodge. She enjoyed fishing, camping, crocheting, bowling, darts and was a huge fan of NASCAR.

She married Thomas (TJ) Stein in October 1974 in Antler. They became the parents of Michael Stein of Gillette.

Karen is survived by her son, Kirk (Pam) Brownfield of Hendersonville, North Carolina; daughter, Kristi (Dan) Trunk of Sundance, Wyoming; daughter, Kendra Brownfield (Robert Birkle) of Evansville, Wyoming; son, Kirby (Jill) Brownfield of West Columbia, South Carolina; and son Michael Stein of Gillette; stepdaughter, Tami (Tim) Klein of Ozark, Illinois; stepdaughter, Ardelle (Lynn) Schmidt of Antler, North Dakota; stepdaughter, Tracy Hamel of Minot, North Dakota; 14 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Karen was preceded in death by her husband TJ; sister, Katherine; Katherine’s son Johnny; and her parents Melvin and Maxine.

Karen was incredibly passionate and proud of her family.

A celebration of life service for TJ and Karen begins at 11 a.m. Sept. 21 at the American Legion.

This paid obituary was provided by family and friends.

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