September 16, 1940 ~ August 25, 2021

Karen Ruth (Nanninga) Owings, 80, Hays, died Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at Brookdale Senior Living Center.

She was born September 16, 1940 in Axtell, Kansas, the second of eight children of Milton H. and Helen E. (Stewart) Nanninga. 

Karen graduated from Axtell High School and attended Emporia State University.  She married Jerry Leedy in 1960 and they had two daughters, Lori and Lisa.  They later divorced. 

On November 10, 1987 she married Norman C. Owings in Russell, and they celebrated 33 years of marriage.  Karen worked as a legal secretary in Hill City and Salina. 

She was a member of Hays First United Methodist Church where she served as a lay speaker, delivering sermons to residents in nursing homes, and known as “The Ukulele Lady”, played her ukulele as she presented the children’s sermon during Sunday worship.  Little children loved gathering around Karen, and she loved being around them. 

Karen enjoyed writing poetry, playing Bridge, singing, and was a chorus director.  She and Norman enjoyed their travels together throughout all 50 states and on nine cruises.  Karen was known to be ornery and a friend to everyone, cherishing her lifelong friends.

Survivors include her husband: Norman of Hays, two daughters: Lori Paxson of Colby and Lisa Bowers and husband Rodger of Lee’s Summit, MO, two stepsons: Dale Owings and wife Kathryn of Lawrence and David Owings of Coffeyville, a brother: Terry Nanninga and wife Karen of Axtell, a sister: Beth Clowe and husband Chris of Trinidad, CO, a brother-in-law: Jerry Hazlett of Topeka, two sisters-in-law: Cherie Nanninga of Lenexa and JoAnn Nanninga of Maryville, MO, nine grandchildren: Jenny Smith and husband Jarrod, Heath Paxson and wife Mandy, Spencer Bowers and wife Hannah, Luke Bowers, Paul Owings and wife Cristina, Vanessa Hermesh and husband Jeff, Jeremy Owings and wife Charell, Casey Franke and husband Alex, and Kyle Kuypers and wife Natalie, and 16 great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, four brothers: Lynn, Karl, Bruce, and Gregg Nanninga, and a sister: Nancy Hazlett.

Funeral services will be at 11:00 am on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 at Hays First United Methodist Church, with Rev. Craig Hauschild officiating.  Inurnment be at 2:00 pm in Hill City Cemetery. 

The family will receive friends from 10:00 am until service time on Tuesday at the church.  Memorials are suggested to Hays First United Methodist Church or to Hospice of HaysMed, in care of Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home.  Condolences and memories of Karen may be shared with the family at