Karin (formerly Bartow) Skooglund, affectionately known as “Skoogie”, passed away in Santa Rosa, California on October 24, 2019 due to complications following surgery. Karin was a writer, editor, activist, arts enthusiast, and beloved mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. For 75 years, she lived fearlessly and with an abundance of joy. She will be profoundly missed by all who loved her.
Born in 1943 in Rahway, New Jersey, Karin was Arthur Carl Skooglund and Alice Felicia (formerly Stratton) Skooglund’s third daughter, joining older sisters Sonja and Elsa. The family settled in Morningside Conn., where Karin and her sisters spent many happy hours on the beach, climbing the seawall, playing with friends, and riding their bikes.
After the sudden loss of Arthur in 1949, Alice returned to school to pursue her masters degree in education and became a home economics teacher. In 1952, Alice was remarried to Warren Wilson, who had two sons, Chuck and George, and the blended family moved to Clark, New Jersey. Together, Alice and Warren had a daughter, Judith.
Karin attended Lasell Junior College from 1961 to 1963, where she majored in merchandising and formed significant, lifelong friendships. Following her graduation from Lasell, Karin held a number of jobs in the Boston area, and she worked for a short time at Uppsala University while living in Stocksund, Sweden, where her parents and sister Judy were residing.
In 1969, Karin married Stephen Bartow and over the next 25 years they lived in Boston, Newton, and Cohasset, Mass. They divorced in 1994, but remained the proud parents of two children, Felecia and Christopher. During her more than two decades in Cohasset, Karin developed many enduring relationships, including those established while she was part of a local rowing group known as “Women with Big Sticks” and as an active community volunteer.
Karin was always drawn to writing, literature, and the arts. She completed further coursework at Harvard Extension School, and she worked at the Cohasset Mariner newspaper, the South Shore Arts Center in Cohasset, and the Fuller Museum in Brockton, Mass. Karin often dreamed of pursuing a four-year degree, a goal she accomplished in 1994 when she graduated from Simmons College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing. Among other pursuits, Karin later launched her own business as a marketing mentor for visual artists.
In 2006, Karin relocated to California to be closer to children. She settled in Sonoma, where she quickly established a community of friends and pursued her many interests and passions. She provided transportation to seniors and she served as a long-time volunteer at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. In 2014, the museum awarded Karin the Star Volunteer Award.
In California, Karin became involved in local politics, serving as the president of the North of Mission Neighborhood Association. She also canvassed for progressive candidates in Sonoma and beyond. A fierce advocate on issues close to her heart, Karin sought to advance justice and opportunity for others.
Karin traveled extensively, from Honduras and Cuba to Bulgaria and Turkey, with many trips to her beloved Sweden. She was a lifelong learner, a voracious reader, a devotee of the New York Times Crossword Puzzle, a quilter, and a dog lover. More than anything, she could light up a room and make anyone laugh.
Karin is survived by two children—Felecia (Tom Fuchs) Bartow of Basel, Switzerland and Christopher (Marta) Bartow of Willits, Calif.—as well as four grandchildren, Charlotte and Julia Bartow Fuchs of Basel, Switzerland and Raylan and Cyrus Bartow of Willits, Calif. She is also survived by her siblings— Warren “Chuck” (Barbara) Wilson of Placentia, Calif., Sonja Benson of Naples, Fla., Elsa (Tom) Pennewell of St. Clair, Mich., and Judith (Greg) Leonard of Noank, Conn.—as well as many nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents—Arthur Carl Skooglund, Alice Felicia Wilson, and Warren Wilson—and her brother, George Wilson.
Celebrations of Karin’s life will be held at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art in Sonoma, CA on Friday, April 17, 2020 from 4:00-6:30 p.m. and at the First Parish Church in Cohasset, MA on Sunday, August 9, 2020 from 4:00-5:00 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Karin Skooglund’s name can be made to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. and the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s A.R.T.S. program, a visual arts program for 4th and 5th grade students in Sonoma Valley.
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