Elsie "Jane" Karlson went to be with her Lord and Savior early in the evening of June 10, 2021.
Jane was born September 5, 1922 in Iola, Kansas to Leon Edward Thomas and Mary Linville Thomas. She graduated from Westport HS before enrolling in Iowa State College. July 1942 found her in Washington, DC serving as an air raid warden before eventually taking a full-time position at the US Atomic Energy Commision as a stenographer. It was there that she eventually met her future husband, Thomas E. Karlson. They settled in Derwood, MD following their marriage in 1963. Jane and Tom arrived in Oak Ridge, TN in 1976, following the lead of a number of friends from DC, who had also made the decision to retire there.
For the next 35-plus years, Jane filled her "free" time immersing herself in Oak Ridge and loving its two-and four-legged residents through service and fun, often partnering with Tom to do so. Together they volunteered in the fundraising of money needed to build not only the YMCA, but the addition to the church that was their faith home, 1st Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Jane played "at" golf, but more often you'd find her at the YWCA as receptionist or sales lady in the Nearly New Shop - to say nothing of being one of their most reliable customers. (This lady loved to shop!)
It's no surprise that Jane's love for dogs would lead her to be involved with the Humane Society's Oak Ridge Animal Shelter. Her 14 years of service began with picking up the money in banks throughout the community, which helped fund the shelter, and delivering supplies to the shelter. With time, her responsibilities grew, and Jane could be found answering phones and greeting customers at the front desk. Ever the animal lover, Jane was even willing to clean out cages, feed the animals, and encourage potential adoptive families in their decisions to bring home a four-legged friend.
Her inspiration and impact prompted the Oak Ridge Humane Society to petition the city to honor her upon her retirement as a volunteer, and the Mayor of Oak Ridge proclaimed August 22, 2001 as Jane Karlson Appreciation Day.
If she wasn't rescuing strays off the side of the road using her ever ready "emergency animal kit" in the back of her van, Jane made sure that SARG was getting all the help they needed to foster and protect both cats and dogs in Oak Ridge.
Due to failing eyesight and hearing, Jane had had to give up not only her volunteer time with animals but service and activities with her church, her Friday night supper club with the girls and her bargain hunting trips to Goodwill. She spent her good days tending plants at The Groves, walking the halls for exercise and reading Scripture as well as romance novels.
Jane's extended family wishes to thank all of those with Visiting Angels of Knoxville, whose compassion and caring during the last 1 1/2years won't be forgotten. Piper, Kristina, Sandra and Jennia, your companionship and creativity, especially during the pandemic, was a God sent. The staff at The Groves of Oak Ridge went out of their way to always make Jane comfortable whether it be day or night, bless you for that.
Friends and family are invited to join us in celebrating Jane's homecoming on June 19, 2021, 11 AM at Martins Oak Ridge Funeral Home. Burial will immediately follow at Oak Ridge Memorial Park where she will be laid to rest beside her beloved Tom.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Jane's memory to:
Oak Ridge Animal Shelter 365 Belgrade Rd Oak Ridge, TN 37830
SARG (Shelter Animal Rescue Group) 124 Newell Ln. Oak Ridge,TN 37830
Amedisys Home Health Care of Oak Ridge 575 Oak Ridge Turnpike Oak Ridge, TN 37830
1st Cumberland Presbyterian Church of OR 127 Lafayette Dr Oak Ridge, TN Services entrusted to Martin Oak Ridge Funeral Home 865-483-4341