Kristin Ann Engen was born in San Francisco on July 28, 1949, the third daughter of Earl and Adeline Engen and youngest sister of Mary Lou and Janice. Earl’s job necessitated a number of moves, so Kris lived in the west and east bay areas, in Yakima, and Seattle before the family settled in Yakima in 1955.
Kris attended Gilbert Elementary for first and second grade and then had the privilege of attending the brand new Robertson Elementary and Wilson Junior High schools the first years they were open, ultimately graduating from Eisenhower High in 1967.
As a youth, Kris was an active member of Central Lutheran Church and enjoyed Youth Group events and the friends she made there. She had many friends throughout her school years that joined her in activities and on escapades ranging from Brownies to football games and school musicals, to pizza at Shakey’s. Coupled with a great sense of humor and the spirit of mischief, Kris was always a fun companion.
Yakima Valley Community College and the Yakima Business College followed high school. It was there she studied medical transcription, taking classes from her own mom. Her fingers were lightening fast on the keyboard, a blur to anyone who watched her type thousands of x-ray reports during the 20 years she transcribed for Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. Kris followed those years with 21 years as a self-employed medical transcriptionist and was transcribing for MedQuest at the time of her death.
The happiest years of Kris’s life followed her October 26, 1982 marriage to Jerry Laffoon, who she met on a blind date the year before. Their son, Ryan Laffoon, was born the following year. Kris said of Ryan’s birth, “I didn’t think I could ever be this happy!” When Ryan became an adult, Kris and Jerry bought a beautiful home in the forest Kris loved, and they moved to Orient, where Jerry continues to reside.
Kris was a lover of music, playing piano and lifting her beautiful soprano voice during more than 15 years singing with Yakima’s Bel Canto Choral Society. Her passion for animals was reflected in the number of cats and dogs she loved over the years and her more recent delight n watching the many varieties of birds that visited her feeders. Kris was a pool shark, a knitter, and a lover of good books and music. Her greatest joy came with the October 2009 birth of her grandchild, Ryan and Laura’s daughter, Kyra.
An inspiration to all who knew her, Kris exhibited her strength, courage, grace, commitment to friendships, and wry sense of humor as she faced challenge after challenge throughout her life, especially over the past eight years during which time she battled and survived three bouts of cancer. She is now resting in the arms of Jesus, where there is no more suffering or pain.
Kris is survived by her husband, Jerry, and their son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Laura; grand-daughter, Kyra and grandson, Skylar; her sisters and their husbands, Mary Lou and Paul Carlson, Mukilteo; Jan and Jack Lyon, Yakima; nephews, Steve and Stacy Carlson; Tim and Luann Carlson; Pete and Dianne Carlson; Ken and Michelle Lyon, and David and Tharon Lyon; nine great nieces and nephews; two cousins, Alton Olson and Connie Morgan; children, Pam (Pat) Foster, Mike Urain, Tim (Karen) Uraine, Pat (Janett) Urain, and Jerry Laffoon, Ill; grandchildren, Natassja, Anastasia, Jack, Rose, Janett, Salma, Ayleisha, Angel, Patrick, Jennifer, and Mary; “niece,” Jillian (Monte) Jeppsen; and life-long friend, Judy Lebens.
A memorial service was held on August 27 in Colville.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Kettle Falls Food Bank, PO Box 1145, Kettle Falls, WA 99141.