TRAVERSE CITY — Karen Tanis (Swenson) Brandel passed away suddenly on Dec. 20, 2012, at age 61.
She was born on Sept. 23, 1951, at the navy base in Bainbridge, Md., the daughter of Dr. Roy Alfred Swenson and Annamay (Petrella) Vetter. She grew up in northern New Jersey and graduated from Nutley High School in 1970. Karen received training as a nursery school aide through La Guardia Junior College in Long Island City, N.Y., followed by employment at a private nursery school. In the fall of 1976, Karen married David Brandel and resided in New York City.
She loved singing, her cat, soap operas and Motown music. Karen was a courageous fighter as she endured a long-term illness. In October 2009, Karen was brought to Traverse City to be near family. Bingo, music, television, journal writing, outings to Burger King, lipstick, coffee, her purse and visitors occupied her time during nursing home stays and living at group homes. She was appreciative of those who tried to help her, especially with her failing memory. Karen is now at peace in heaven.
Karen was preceded in death by her parents, and stepfather, George Vetter.
Surviving are her sisters, Dale (Paul) Swenson Rajala of Traverse City, and Kim Swenson of Houston; stepmother, Susi Swenson, and "sister" Katrin Swenson of Whitefield, N.H.; two nephews, Sven Rajala of Oakton, Va., and Ebrehim Ghazali of Houston; two nieces, Linnea Rajala of Traverse City and Nisa Garcia of Houston; plus four great nephews.
A special thank you is extended to Birchwood Nursing Home, Area of Aging, Northern Lakes CMH, and Tendercare of Leelenau for their support and enrichment of Karen's life here.