Karlene Renee Gehring, 54, Bismarck, formerly of Hazen, left this world in true Karlene fashion, with much spirit on Nov. 26, 2014, after a short battle with cancer. Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. CST Wednesday, Dec. 3, at English Lutheran Church, Hazen, with the Rev. Derek Harkins officiating.
Karlene was born May 13, 1960, in Minot, to Darrell and Vivian (Reynolds) Morse. Karlene was raised and educated in Cottage Grove, Minn. She moved home to her parents’ roots in North Dakota and attended college at Minot State University, where she earned her bachelor of science degree in history and business education. She substitute taught until 1997. Her favorite memory was “knowing nothing about music,” but having to long term, substitute teach for band, “and then I tossed my directing pencil right in the tuba.”
She later began a career in community journalism eventually becoming the editor of four weekly newspapers: The McLean County Independent, The Beulah Beacon, The Center Republican and The Hazen Star. Her love for people, her small-town heart and her love for community made her a true asset to these newspapers and everyone that read them. One of her loves was writing her weekly column, “The Coffee’s Brewing.” Eventually, this led to her published book containing a collection of her columns titled, “Dollops of Dysfunction in the Daily Grind.”
In 2006, she started working with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office as a correctional officer/911 dispatcher. After moving to Bismarck in 2013, Karlene worked at North Dakota State Radio.
Those who knew Karlene will remember her lively spirit, sharp wit, sense of humor and her willingness to speak out against injustices in our world. She made friends wherever she went because she was never afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone —stranger or not. She said her greatest blessings were her children, grandson and husband. She enjoyed nothing more than simply sitting with her family and talking.
She was actively involved with the arts. One of her greatest joy was being a founding member of Spotlight the Arts in Hazen and raising money to remodel the Hazen High School Theater as well as money for a yearly scholarship to a Hazen student involved in the arts. She also was proud to be a founding member of Sakakawea South Shore Community Theater based in Hazen, where she lit up the stage with her humor. People often laughed as soon as she walked on stage because of her well-known, humorous presence. She did this all alongside people she considered her greatest friends in life.
She is survived by her husband, Brian Gehring, Bismarck; her daughter, Kelsey (Jacob) Knecht and grandson, Gavin, Hazen; her sons, Carter (Kayla) Hill, Dubuque, Iowa, and Connor Hill (Maggie Jacobson), Hazen; her mother, Vivian (Dennis) Hoogland, Durango, Colo.; her brother, Steven (Pam) Morse, Cottage Grove, Minn.; life-long friend, Hillary Johnson; and many uncles, aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
She was preceded in death by her father, Darrell; one brother, David; her mother-in-law, Marlene Gehring; and her grandparents.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to her true passion, Spotlight the Arts, 1016 Elbowoods Drive, Hazen, N.D. 58545, to be used for the “Spotlight the Arts” Scholarship Fund. Also, copies of her book, “Dollops of Dysfunction in the Daily Grind” will be available for free-will donation at the service. All proceeds will be given to the scholarship fund. (Barbot Funeral Home, Beulah and Hazen)