Karen Young died peacefully at home on August 8, 2020. A lifelong resident of Salt Lake Valley, Karen was born August 9, 1961 to Evelyn Miecke Bench and Keith Bench. She met Rod Young in 1978. They were married in 1981, and in 1987 they had their daughter Chandra. Though Karen and Rod divorced in 2005, they remained best friends. Karen, Rod, and Chandra all lived within 2 miles of each other and got together often.
Karen was full of life and dove head-first into the things that interested her. Karen was known for her spunk, loud music, organizational skills, jello shots, ornate gift-wrapping abilities, and annual haunted houses in her garage. She has always been “the responsible one” and the glue of the family. Though she never believed it, Karen was a social butterfly and always knew how to entertain. She spent endless hours putting together events for neighborhood kids and planning numerous parties and camping trips for friends and family. Everything she planned turned into a memorable event.
Anyone who knew Karen knew she was stubborn and fiery but that she also had a gift for making those around her feel seen and validated. She was empathetic, tender-hearted, an incredible listener, and unmatched in her ability to make people feel like a million bucks. Kids, in particular, always gravitated toward her. She treated them like mini adults, and they loved her for it. Karen’s friends were equally important to her. She always looked forward to hanging out with everyone at The Busy Bee, The Bonwood, Paint Nites, and at her book club. She was surrounded by wonderful people.
Karen was always up for an adventure. She loved road trips (music on full blast), camping, roller coasters, and pulling pranks on friends and family. Nothing was outside the realm of possibilities. Whether it was setting up a fake crime scene in a family member’s driveway, filling a backyard with 100 beach balls, singing answering machine messages, or dressing Rod up like a fairy at his family Christmas party, funny ideas weren’t just funny ideas to Karen; she loved to go all-out to actually make them happen.
While Karen hated mandatory holidays – or anything mandatory for that matter – and hated celebrating herself, she lived to celebrate other people. Chandra’s childhood birthday parties were the envy of the neighborhood, and Karen even went so far as to organize a neighborhood Olympics. Her Christmas crafts will live on forever. She’s made and given away so many Christmas decorations over the years. Karen was also known to give over-the-top thoughtful gifts any time of year, and we could always tell a present was from her by the mini balloons and ornate gift-wrapping.
Karen trusted her gut and was honest to a fault. She was certainly never afraid to speak out against anything she saw as unjust, even if it meant making a scene. If you knew her, and ever experienced her wrath, you knew she'd usually get over it… in a month… or three. She was a rebel and loved to go against the grain, but she always believed wholeheartedly in the golden rule – treating others as you want to be treated. She was a life-long seeker of truth, and we’re sure she’s excited by what she’s experiencing now in the afterlife.
Karen is preceded in death by her son Canyon and by her brother Bart Bench. She is survived by Rodger Young, Chandra Young, her parents Evelyn Bench and Keith (Ranee) Bench, and her siblings Ramona Brereton, Larry (Doreen) Bench, Kari (Richard) Scott, and Brad (Wendy) Bench.
A celebration of life will be held for Karen on Friday, August 21, 2020 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Starks Funeral Parlor, 3651 South 900 East, Salt Lake City. To ensure compliance with current social distancing guidelines, we kindly ask that you call the funeral parlor at (801) 474-9119 between the hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday thru Saturday to make a reservation for the time you wish to attend. The courtesy of wearing a mask is requested.
For those unable to attend the celebration of life for Karen, a live stream will be available by clicking the "Watch Now" link above before the celebration begins. The celebration recording will be posted on this website thereafter to view any time.