In Memory

Karen Swanson

Karen Swanson

sacramento bee

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09/18/22 05:07 PM #1    

McClatchy Sixty-One











Stephens CollegeUniversity of Virginia




W.F. Gormley & Sons

2015 Capitol Ave

Sacramento, CA



Karen Grace Swanson
December 29, 1943 - September 9, 2022
Sacramento, California -
After a three and one half year journey with Alzheimer's, Karen passed away Sept. 9, 2022. Seventy-eight years earlier, Karen had arrived on this earth, Dec. 29, 1943 at 8:12 a.m., six minutes after her twin brother Roger. It was probably the last time she came in second. Rumor had it that she was born with a golf club in her hands.
Karen grew up in Land Park and began playing golf there, almost as soon as she could ride a bike. As a kid, she was a regular competitor (and only female) in the "nickel-dime-quarter" summer evening putting contests at Land Park Golf Course, rubbing elbows with some pretty wild characters, but always holding her own-kind of an "Annie Oakley" of the "Moss". It was probably this keen competition that honed her renowned putting prowess.
She was the city's Junior Girls Champion four times. At age 13, Karen won the First Flight trophy in of the State Girls' Championship at Pebble Beach. She won the Sacramento City Women's Championship at 16, qualified for the U.S. Girls Jr. Championship twice and the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship twice. At the same tender age, she played a number of nine hole exhibition matches with touring pros, including Barbara Romack, the legendary Mickey Wright, and even U.S. Women's Open champion Pat Bradley.
College then interrupted her golf career. After graduating from Stephens College and USC, Karen earned two master's degrees at the University of Virginia and taught on the S.S. Ryndam Chapman College, later teaching at California State University, Sacramento, until moving on to manage real estate.
Once again, the game of golf was calling for Karen. Her strong community service ethic drew her to SAY-Golf, which became The First Tee of Greater Sacramento. As a co-founder with Ken Morton, she spent several years on the board of directors, serving as president for two years. Her leadership qualities rallied local businesses and individuals to the cause and her generous financial donations to The First Tee had a major impact. She was also instrumental in gleaning a great deal of help from the United States Golf Association. She continued to be very involved with The First Tee through scholarship interviews and the Junior Tour.
She served as a USGA volunteer for more than twenty-five years on six different USGA committees including thirteen years on the Women's Committee. Her passion and commitment to women's golf led her to attend events and meetings around the country (and Internationally). She was a proud recipient of the Isaac B. Grainger Award for her dedicated service.
Karen helped introduce young blind boys and girls to the game of golf; she was a course rater for many years and played an important role when the slope system was introduced; she also attended a number of Curtis Cup Matches.
Karen's work in golf took her to the four corners of the globe, and her travels led to the purchase of a home in Maui and another in Thailand. Karen was most interested in the cultures of the countries she visited and she chronicled locals engaged in their everyday activities and events. Though a self-taught photographer, her ability to capture the soul of her subjects would make any photojournalist proud.
Karen gave much of her life to other volunteer activities. She served on the boards of Sacramento Children's Home Guild and Children's Receiving Home and was chair of the Sacramento County Children's Commission.
During this period, she won the Ladies' Del Paso Championship 16 times between 1971 and 2006, displaying grace and humility, always delighted to play with golfers of all skill levels. Win or lose, other players always felt good about their experiences with Karen. She was inducted into the Sacramento City Golf Hall of Fame in 2002.
Karen leaves behind two adult children, Luke Dedman and Kathleen Brown, and two grandchildren, Salvin and Sara. A celebration of her life by her friends is in the planning. Remembrances may be made to First Tee of Sacramento at 3704 Marconi Ave. Sacramento, CA 95821




Published by & from Sep. 16 to Sep. 18, 2022.

09/26/23 02:10 PM #2    

Ted Strutz


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