July 30th,1952 - Feb 14th, 2019
Karel Anne Laufenberg nee Richards passed away peacefully in her home, surrounded by her children and her beloved sister, on Feb 14th, 2019 in Newport Oregon at the age of 66, due to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.
Karel was born on July 30th, 1952 in Long Beach California to Loretta Jeane Padilla nee Gustafson. Karel grew up in Buena Park California with her 6 sisters, Mother, Loretta Padilla and father, Robert Padilla. Karel felt very lucky to come from such a large tight-knit family. Karel had a passion for horses and spent her free time in her younger years at Oscar’s Stables, and she was also an avid rider and sharpshooter.
Karel graduated from Cypress Community College in 1974, and went on to pursue a double major in Comparative Linguistics and Russian Literature at the University of California at Irvine, maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout her college career. She was especially proud of contributing to a seminal study that found a link between the language of Easter Island and the languages of several Indigenous Tribes of Bolivia, with her beloved professor and mentor, Dr. Mary Richey Key.
Karel was multi-lingual, fluent in Russian, Spanish, and Japanese. She took great pleasure in teaching Spanish and Russian at Oregon Coast Community College, and volunteering as a translator at Lincoln County District Court. She worked closely with the Spanish Speaking community in Lincoln County, and even learned some Central American Native Dialects. Karel had great compassion while assisting new immigrants and refugees from Mexico and other Central American countries, even opening her home.
Karel was extraordinarily intelligent, with an insatiable curiosity. Karel believed very strongly in the power of reading, and was an extremely voracious reader. Her interests spanned multiple subjects, from the history of Mongolia to Quantum Physics. She would often say throughout her life “if you want to know something, visit your local library”. It is fitting that she ended her professional life as a Bi-lingual Library Clerk with Newport Public Library.
Karel was a fixture on the Newport Bayfront for 20 years, managing the Whales Tale Restaurant. She also found great joy in her outreach work with older adults who were home bound, or living in care facilities, and with At-Risk Youth at the Lincoln County Juvenile Corrections facility. Karel believed in “creating”. She was a published writer, her bead art has been featured in multiple shows, and her paper art could be found in displays at the Newport Public Library. She also was a very talented knitter and quilter. She was always interested in exploring new mediums, often joking in the last months of her life, “I can’t die yet, I am not finished with this necklace”.
She was very much in love with her husband, John Laufenberg, and was happily married until his untimely passing at age 60. Her children will remember her as a kind and loving mother who encouraged them to pursue their goals and to live by a set of values that honored family, community, and justice. She was a straight shooter, and could be counted on to walk her talk. She was a social justice warrior, who brought people together.
Karel adored animals, and counted each of her dogs a beloved friend. She loved telling stories and most importantly listening. She will be greatly mourned by her children, 6 sisters and brothers-in-law, myriad nieces, nephews, and her friends and colleagues.
Karel is preceded in death by her husband, John Laufenberg and her parents, Loretta Jeane Padilla and Robert Padilla. Karel is survived by her daughter Nicole Cotto nee Mundt, and sons; Justin Mundt, and Joaquin Waldroop; her Grandsons Tristan Mundt, Jarrod Waldroop, Thomas and Tanner Goble , and most recently, Asa Waldroop . Her granddaughters Chloe Johnson, Keisha Goble, Aria Waldroop, Grace Cotto, and Lura Waldroop; her great granddaughter Willow Goble; her sisters Karen Fell, Kristin Karns, Kathy Gagian, Teresa Savaii, Andrea Sharif and Lori Nieman.
A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, the 23rd of February at 11:00am, at the St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 414 S.W. 9th St, Newport Oregon. A celebration of Karel’s life will immediately follow at 1138 S.W. 12th St., Newport Oregon.
All who knew and cared about Karel are welcome to attend. Please RSVP for celebration on life to [email protected] or 541-265-8827. Arrangements are to be entrusted to Bateman’s Funeral Home. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Grace Wins Haven or Lincoln County Animal Shelter.