Karl Steven Quentin Sawatzki


Karl Steven Quentin Sawatzki

1956 - 2008

We have found our brother Karl, and Karl has found peace.

Karl Steven Quentin Sawatzki was born on January 16, 1956 in Omaha, Nebraska, and died of coronary artery disease on February 8, 2008 in Great Falls, Montana. He was 52. Karl was the son of the late John Jacob and Rosemary Tramposh Sawatzki, long-time Walla Walla residents. He was the ninth of their thirteen children. Karl was lively, funny, caring, and "an original" during his youth. His older siblings enjoyed his rabble rousing and his younger brothers all looked up to him for his efforts to take on the establishment. He was raised and educated in Walla Walla, where he attended St. Patrick's Grade School, Garrison Junior High, and Walla Walla High School, graduating in June 1974. He enjoyed playing baseball, basketball, football and running cross-country. Karl served honorably in the U. S. Army from 1975-78, including a year in Korea, and liked it so much he later wanted to re-enlist. He next attended Walla Walla Community College and ultimately earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitman College in 1983, with a major in sociology.

It was about that time when Karl experienced the onset of mental illness which would profoundly alter the rest of his life. For some years Karl operated in a parallel reality, traveling around the country and to South America with energy and enthusiasm, trying to right social injustices. Eventually Karl stopped all contact with his family and he was not found again until three years after his death. Evidence from his later years is scarce, but it indicates that he settled in Great Falls for at least five years, lived independently, paid his rent on time, volunteered to help with upkeep at his trailer park, and mostly kept to himself, but was known and liked by his peers.

Karl is survived by twelve siblings and their spouses and families: Johnny and Beth Sawatzki of Wichita, Kansas; Dorothy Sawatzki Coutsoubos and John Coutsoubos of Battle Ground, WA; Edward Sawatzki and Michele Robbins of Spokane Valley, WA; William and Bonnie Sawatzki of Liberty Lake, WA; Mary Sawatzki and John Westlake of Berkeley, CA; Kathryn Sawatzki Johns of Seattle, WA; Robert Sawatzki and Suzanne Hogan of Ogden, Utah; Michael Sawatzki and Karen Spearing of Edwards, Colorado; Richard Sawatzki and Sophie Lee of Washington DC; James Sawatzki and Lynne Christiansen of Tacoma, WA; Thomas Sawatzki of Walla Walla, WA; and Franc Sawatzki of Whidbey Island, WA.

Karl is also survived by eleven nephews and twelve nieces, and their families. He is survived by three aunts: Rita Tramposh Sweaney of LaVista, NE; Margaret Sawatzki Sobczyk of Omaha, NE; and Rosemary Sawatzki Svacina of San Diego, CA. Karl also has many surviving first cousins and their families.

Karl was preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, sister-in-law Ruth Boland Sawatzki, and Ruth and Johnny's son Gabriel Sawatzki.

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated by Rev. Steve Dublinski on Saturday, May 28, 2011, at St. Patrick's Church in Walla Walla at 11:00 am. Karl will be interred with his parents in Mountain View Cemetery on Tuesday, May 31st.

His family sincerely invites friends of Karl and of his family to join them for lunch and a joyful memorial gathering at about noon in the St. Patrick's parish hall, whether or not you attend the preceding service. There will be time for visiting and an opportunity to share memories and stories of Karl. Feel welcome to prepare some thoughts or to be spontaneous as inspiration strikes. It would please and comfort the family to know that Karl is still remembered by friends from his younger days. We have missed our brother Karl at every family event for twenty years, and we now want to celebrate his life and enjoy thoughts of his happier times. Karl's course was difficult after his mid-twenties, but he carried on with verve, imagination, and sincerity. We are sorry for his challenges, but proud of his spirit, humor and heart of gold.

In lieu of flowers, you might make a donation to Rising Sun Clubhouse (509-529-0120), Blue Mountain Counseling (509-382-1164), or any charity of your choice.

For further information you may contact Tom Sawatzki at 509-520-3379 or at 1211 Highland Road in Walla Walla, WA 99362.


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