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Karlann S. Coughlin, age 93, of Kalispell, Montana passed away on Saturday, November 24th, 2018 at HealthCenter Northwest in Kalispell, Montana.
Karlann Smith was born in Tipton, Ind. on February 18, 1925 to Claudia Achtenhagen Smith and John D. Smith III. Her father had a 25-acre apple orchard she referred to as Beechwood. Her mother was the only Red Cross nurse in Tipton County and turned their large, three-story family home into a hospital during the Great Depression. It’s here that Karlann learned to cook and bake for the patients.
She was an excellent student and violinist. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree on a full scholarship from Purdue University and attained her Masters in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan in 1946, where Karlann was one of only three women in her class. She taught the nurses lab and was a member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority. She worked in the lab at the University of Chicago and for the American Meat Packers Association, where she helped create hydrogenated oils. She later apologized for that feat: “We were just trying to find a way to give fats and oil a shelf life, to keep them from going rancid.”
Karlann tripped over her future husband, Paul Coughlin, while playing volleyball during girls night in the gym at the University of Michigan. They were married at “Beechwood” in Tipton, Indiana on August 31, 1947. They shared many love poems together over the next 65 years.
Karlann and Paul led an adventurous life, and she was always prepared for each day in her varied homes in Mexico City, Cleveland, Ohio, Pinedale, Wyo., Kalispell, Mont., Salt Lake City, Utah, Boulder City, Nev. and Wenatchee, Wash. While raising four children, Karlann taught advanced math classes whenever a school was in a jam and needed a teacher. She was a successful business woman and owned Books West in Kalispell from 1969 to 1979. She was an active member of AAUW, troop leader for Girl Scouts and Brownies, and President of the Boulder City Ladies Golf Association. She enjoyed tennis, golf, sailing, hiking, alpine and cross country skiing, water aerobics and was an avid reader. She loved baking cinnamon rolls and creating extravagant gingerbread houses with her grandchildren. At age 88, she was asked to model in the Wenatchee YMCA “swimsuit calendar” with her precious friends, the Water Lilies.
Karlann is survived by her son Kevin (Ranae) of Bismarck, N.D.; her son Matt (Stacia) of St. Paul, Minn.; and her daughter Cris Coughlin (Steve Sutherland) of Whitefish, Mont.; 9 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren. Karlann was preceded in death by her parents, sister Phyllis (Smith) Hartley, brother John D. Smith IV, husband Paul Coughlin, and daughter Tricia (John Page). As per Karlann’s wishes, she will be cremated with no fanfare. Remembrances may be entered at darlingtonfunerals.com or on Karlann's facebook page. Her family requests that you honor her life doing as Karlann and Paul always lived, by being kind to someone else today.