Cover photo for Karen (Yarnell) Goodwin, PhD's Obituary
Karen (Yarnell) Goodwin, PhD Profile Photo
1949 Karen 2019

Karen (Yarnell) Goodwin, PhD

January 29, 1949 — April 24, 2019

Dr. Karen Hockenyos (Yarnell) Goodwin, PhD, age 70 of Pagosa Springs, CO, passed away at home on April 24, 2019, surrounded by family after a year-long struggle with cancer.

She is survived by her husband, (John G Goodwin, Jr.), two children (Sarah and Jacob), two grandchildren (Madeleine and Carson), siblings (Jon, Kris, and Mark) and their extended families. Karen was a deeply loved and admired wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend, environmental and social justice activist, and accomplished academic.

Born in 1949 in Springfield, IL to George and Gwendolyn (Hemion) Hockenyos, she was the youngest of four children. After graduating from Springfield High School in 1967, she attended Illinois Wesleyan Univ for two years and then obtained her BA in Secondary Education from Univ of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 1971. At U of I, she met Michael Allen Yarnell, and they married in 1971. After a year abroad in Seoul, South Korea, they settled in Phoenix, AZ to raise their children, Sarah and Jacob. Karen was active in charitable endeavors, including The Star Starters and Phoenix Children's Theater. Warm memories included adventures camping, backpacking, river rafting, a family trip to New Zealand and Australia, and building a summer cabin in the forested canyons of northern Arizona.

In mid-life, Karen became involved in environmental activism to preserve old-growth southwestern Ponderosa pine National Forests. She worked extensively with the US Forest Service, The Wilderness Society, The Sierra Club, and other groups to protect these public treasures. Her passion for the science of forest health lead her to graduate school at Northern Arizona University’s School of Forestry, where she obtained a Master of Science in Forestry in 1993 and a Doctorate in Forest Science in 2004. During this time, she met and married her second husband, John Goodwin, Jr in 1997. They resided in Flagstaff, AZ, where she continued her civic and academic work. In addition to her environmental contributions, her activism included aiding the Flagstaff Peace Center’s non-violence outreach and helping the Friends of Flagstaff’s Future in their efforts to conserve scarce local water resources. She shared her love of the northern Arizona landscape, along with hobbies like gardening and cooking, with her grandchildren, wider family and friends.

After many years in Flagstaff, Karen and John retired with their beloved dogs to a home they built in the Pagosa Springs, CO area in 2012. She participated in and supported various civic groups, including the Pagosa Springs Fire District Auxiliary and the San Juans for San Juan, Puerto Rico Project. She enjoyed her retirement hosting family and visitors, playing the piano, watching the Phoenix Suns, and reading in view of the beautiful San Juan Mountains.

Karen is greatly missed and will always be remembered for her love, laughter and courage. At her request, there will be no formal memorial service. Instead, the family asks that her memory be honored by spending time in nature with loved ones and by dedicating a positive action to improve the world for others.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen (Yarnell) Goodwin, PhD, please visit our flower store.


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