Karen Alene Riley
-- 1936 ~ 2010 --

Karen Alene Riley was born on November 5, 1936 to Faye Rose and Frank Riley in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was the oldest of four children, including her sister Janice, and two brothers, David and Darryl. The family moved to Peoria, Illinois when Karen was very young.

Karen was born with spina bifida and was operated on shortly after her birth. Following the operation her mother was told that Karen probably wouldn’t live past a few years and mostly like would not be able to walk.

Her father and mother split up early in Karen’s life and her mother later married Arthur Diefenderfer. Karen adored her new daddy, Arthur.

Karen attended school at William Allen High School and graduated in 1954. While in high school she participated in musicals, plays, and school choirs. She was a fan of big band and swing music, took tap dancing and ballet lessons, and loved to sing. As a little girl, her daddy compared her to Shirley Temple. Karen loved to perform for her brothers and sisters and friends.

In 1960, Karen married Anthony Bottita and together they had one son, Michael who came along in 1963. The family lived in East Orange, New Jersey until Karen and Anthony were divorced in 1965. Karen and Michael moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania where she focused all of her attention on her son.

Karen raised Michael in a loving home and did the best she could on a rather small income. She attempted to gain a college degree in the late 1970’s, then opted to discontinue classes because it meant not being home when her son came home from school. She didn’t want him be a “latch-key kid.”

Karen taught her son many of life’s important lessons including honesty and integrity, how to cook and iron, etiquette, and how to waltz, among many other things.

Karen and Michael joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in August of 1976. She was an active member there and served in many callings such as primary teacher, relief society instructor, church magazine representative, and young women’s leader. She stepped way out of her comfort zone and was a counselor at girl’s camp.

In 1981, after her son left for Rick’s College, Karen moved to Santa Monica, California for two years then returned to Allentown, Pennsylvania. About 1987, she moved back to her childhood home of Peoria, Illinois. There she lived alone until circumstances required her to move to Utah in 2006.

Following a bad fall Karen was brought to Utah by her son Michael to allow her to be closer to him and his family. While in Utah she was cared for by several care facilities including Westside Community Nursing Home and most recently the Draper Rehabilitation and Care Center.

Her health was declining by early summer of 2010 and she passed away in her sleep on October 6, 2010. Karen is preceded in death by her parents Faye Rose and Arthur Diefenderfer (of Allentown, Pennsylvania), Frank Riley (of Peoria, Illinois) and her sister, Janice Dillard (of Simsbury, Connecticut). She is survived by two brothers, David and Darryl Diefenderfer (of Allentown, Pennsylvania), and her son Michael Bottita, his wife Julia, and their children Savannah (Braden Merrill) and Sierra (of Highland, Utah).

Karen will be remembered most for her short stature, her spunky nature, her warm smile and caring heart, and her sense of humor.

Karen always felt her greatest accomplishment was her son Michael, whom she loved more than anyone else and tirelessly gave all of herself for. She will be greatly missed. We love you Karen.

We express our heartfelt thanks for the caring concern of family and friends, Warenski Funeral Home, and Draper Rehabilitation and Care Center during this difficult time.

Funeral services for Karen will be held Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 12:00 noon in the Warenski Funeral Home Chapel located at 1776 North 900 East, American Fork, Utah. Family and friends are invited to attend a viewing from 10:30 am to 12:00 noon prior to services at the funeral home. Interment - Pleasant Grove City Cemetery located at 500 North 100 East, Pleasant Grove, Utah.

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