Nov. 13, 1969 - July 30, 2011
Jon Krumbah, 41, of Seattle died unexpectedly in the early morning hours of July 30, 2011, outside his home in the Capitol Hill
neighborhood of Seattle after returning from a night of fundraising and community outreach. Autopsy reports provided to his brother Joe Krumbach (the original spelling of their family's last name) say the cause of death was a heart attack.
Born in Walla Walla on Nov. 13, 1969, Jon grew up in Pasco and was a 1988 graduate of Pasco Senior High School.
Jon died after an evening of promoting an event for The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an organization Jon had belonged to for six years. The community outreach program was near and dear to his heart
and he thrived in its ranks. He was known as Sister Karma Za Betch.
"This has been a surreal experience," said one of Jon's friends "He was a genuine person, there was no phoniness in him at all. He was just very real."
After graduation from PHS, Jon moved to Seattle. Jon stayed in Seattle for only a few months in the late 1980s and decided he wanted to go back home. Jon joined the Air Force, serving as a military police officer. "He set out to see the world," Joe said admiringly. "When he got stationed in Germany, he traveled all over Europe and began to see things with a global viewpoint. I've got photos of Jon in front of the
Eiffel Tower and the Coliseum."
Throughout his life, Jon moved quite a bit. He lived in Alaska, California and Texas. "I called him 'The Tumbleweed' because he never really knew what he wanted to do or where he belonged." Eventually, Jon found his way back to Seattle and immersed himself in the local community. He became a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, was a well-known face in the nonprofit group. In addition to his nonprofit work, Jon worked in the advertising and marketing department of the SGN in Seattle. "We rejoice in her life and the joy she shared with so many in Seattle and far beyond," said the Abbey of St. Joan in an Aug. 4 statement. "We know that she will be welcomed by the Sisters who have gone before, known as the Nuns of the Above, and will be there to welcome us when the time comes for each of us to join her."
On Aug. 27, 2011, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the Abbey of St. Joan, will host an event in memory and celebration of the life and work of Sister Karma Za Betch. The event will begin at 6 p.m. on the patio of The Cuff Complex (1533 13th Ave.) in Seattle. There will be time for the community and Jon's friends to come together to share memories, stories, laughter and tears, followed by a pilgrimage to
some of Jon's favorite spots on Capitol Hill. Joe said that some of Jon's personal items will be available through a silent auction with proceeds to benefit The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. "Jon would like that," said Joe, "something positive out of something so sad. We had a long talk after our Dad died and Jon and I both agreed, parties, no funerals, rejoice in the life, not in the death."
Joe added, "When we were kids, we had a pond at our place and had these pollywogs that came every year. Eventually they would turn into tadpoles, and then into frogs. Jon was obsessed with this process; he would sit by the pond for hours. As an adult, he had dozens of frogs - plastic, wood, ceramic, all kinds of them," he said. "I think at a really early age Jon learned that we go through life as a pollywog, and then a tadpole, and then eventually become a frog, meaning we grow, we change and eventually we become who we really are. In Jon's case, he became Karma. It took him a long time to get there, but boy, did he enjoy being that frog." "Most people think frogs are only attractive to other frogs, but they are still attractive and serve a purpose," he continued. "Jon's purpose was to do good within the community. Oh, and have a cocktail."
"How could I not be proud of him?" asked Joe. "He did so much to give back to society." "Happy trails, cowboy," said Joe to his brother. "SQUIRREL!"
Jon is preceeded in death by his mother, Mary Lou Krumbah; his father, Harlind Krumbah of Pasco; his grandparents, Margaret and Charles Bristol of Walla Walla and Gertrude and William Krumbah of Milton-Freewater.
There will be a graveside service in September at the family's plot in Milton-Freewater, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother. The Krumbah family is one of the founding families of the Walla Walla Valley having settled there in the 1850s after crossing the Oregon Trail.