Born in Augusta, Maine, her family moved to California when she was young. She grew up in Fallbrook and Cardiff by the Sea. She graduated from San Diego State University and taught elementary school in the area. She met her husband, then LT Joseph J. (Jim) McClelland, U.S. Coast Guard, in San Diego and began her enduring love and support for him in a 36-year Coast Guard career that would include many moves and sea duty tours. She was the loving, devoted, and steadfast influence in the lives of their son, Joe, and daughter, Lindsay (Elle). She would go on to teach elementary and middle school in many other districts across the country.
Jim's final assignment brought them to Honolulu where for three years she was the consummate hostess and mastermind of many Coast Guard events at the Diamond Head Lighthouse quarters, and she would later do the same after their retirement to Hawaii Kai. Karen's signature events were Christmas gatherings, replete with ornate decorations and more trees than one house should have, that fostered fellowship and the infectious spirit and grace of her favorite holiday.
Over her life she gave liberally of her time and resources to many organizations: in her youth, she was a Worthy Advisor in the Rainbow Girls; she was PTA Parent of the Year more than once; she volunteer-tutored children with special needs; recently, she was a dedicated member of the Assistance League of Hawaii and their charitable activities. Karen was a regular fixture of the Hawaii Kai 24-Hour Fitness, where she would chat as much as exercise, and she had a standing coffee group that fulfilled two of her greatest passions: caffeine and good conversation. She was an avid NFL fan and rarely missed a weekend of betting on the games with friends.
Karen and Jim cherished every trip they took with their family and every cruise they took as a couple. They had more planned. Karen leaves behind Jim; their children, Joe and Elle; Elle's husband Sebastian and their sons, Wyatt and Léon; Karen's siblings Kipp, David and Debra, sister-in-law Carolyn, and six nieces and two nephews. A celebration of her life and indomitable spirit will be scheduled when possible.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased