Cover photo for Karen Faye Scalese's Obituary
Karen Faye Scalese Profile Photo
1944 Karen Scalese 2024

Karen Faye Scalese

May 10, 1944 — January 13, 2024



Karen Faye Foster Scalese passed away peacefully on January 13th, 2024, at her daughter's home in Great Falls. She was surrounded by the love of her family and her cherished grand puppies. Throughout her life, Karen touched the hearts of those around her with her warmth, and kindness and joy. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, animal lover and friend.  

Karen was the beloved daughter of Belle Dorthy Rolph and Edwin Calvin Foster, the youngest of four children, joining sister Dorothy, and brothers Buck and Rolph. She was born May 10th, 1944 in Chester and grew up in Joplin.

She graduated from Joplin High School in 1962. She attended school in Minnesota after high school, then returned to Chester. Karen began her professional journey as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at the hospital in Chester, where she met her future sister-in-law, also named Karen (Scalese.) It was through this connection that she was introduced to Sonny, who would become her beloved husband. Their first date was a dance in Joplin, marking the beginning of a lifelong journey together.

Karen and Harold Thomas (Sonny) Scalese married on June 2nd, 1963, a beautiful summer day in Joplin, MT. Their first home was at the Haggarty Ranch working for Meissner’s north of Browning. The early years of their marriage were also spent in Whitlash and Shelby, where she worked on the switchboards. In the spring of '69, the couple ventured to Cut Bank, where Sonny started with Texaco.  In the spring of 1972, they moved to Sunburst, where they found a lasting home spending the next 40 years raising their family.

During this time, Karen wore many hats—a loving wife and mother to Larry and Linda, a talented quilter, seamstress, cross-stitcher, and an avid hunter. She was so excited when she bought her long arm quilting machine. Her marksmanship with a Remington pump-action 270, purchased from Paul Byrne, made her a dead shot, never missing a hunting season in 40 years.

As her children grew older, Karen continued her commitment to the community. She served as an EMT on the North Toole County Ambulance, a role she took great pride in. Additionally, her dedication extended to the Sunburst Post Office, where she contributed to the community through her work.

Karen's priorities in life were clear—her family, her kitties, and spending time at the cabin playing cards. She was a fiercely competitive game player, and Sonny will miss his cribbage and pinochle partner.

In the summer of 2012, Karen and Sonny embarked on a month-long adventure to Alaska, driving to Everett, WA in the motorhome, taking it on a ferry north, and seeing the North Pole, fishing for halibut, and exploring the wonders of the Last Frontier. Just after returning from their adventure, they moved to the S&K farm, north of Shelby, on the Bronken road. They were both so excited to start their new chapter together on the farm.

Last summer, Karen and Sonny celebrated an incredible 60 years of marriage at their cabin, surrounded by family and friends. Their joyous occasion included good food, great company, and playing the washboard to the lively tunes of Erik "Fingers" Ray.

In her final months, Karen had a wonderful holiday season, spending Thanksgiving and Christmas in Great Falls with her kids and grandkids. Dressed in her Christmas best, she enjoyed playing cards, eating good food, and creating lasting memories.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, Buck Foster; sisters-in-law, Marlene Foster and  Lois Foster; nephew, Jim Foster; niece, Terri Foster; brother-in-law, Lewis Burnham and great-nephew Jake Wells; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Duaine and Karen Sloan; and mother and father-in-law, Hales and Ambjorg Scalese.

Karen is survived by her husband, Harold “Sonny” Scalese of Sunburst; favorite son, Larry (Beth) Scalese of Missoula, favorite daughter, Linda (Rod) Keller of Great Falls; grandchildren, Allison Benson of Sunburst, Tyler Scalese of Shelby, Tom Maney, Brea (Chris) Skinner, Montana Heron of Missoula, Jordan (Chelsea) Keller and Cody (Jenny) Keller of Great Falls; great-grandchildren, Trevon, Kaiden, Topher, Dylan, Brayden, Mary, Ryker, River and June; sister, Dorothy Burnham of Chester; brother, Rolph Foster of Great Falls; grand-puppies, Lily and Baley; her kitty, Bernie; many nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at the Lutheran Church of Sunburst at 2:00 pm on Monday, January 22. Reception to follow. Karen was allergic to flowers, so in lieu of floral tributes, please consider a donation to Peace Hospice of Montana.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karen Faye Scalese, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Karen's Funeral Service

Monday, January 22, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Mountain time)

Lutheran Church of Sunburst

108 1st Avenue West, Sunburst, MT 59482

A reception at the church will follow the burial.

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