KAHRI LYNN WIGEN


Kahri “Kar” Lynn Wigen

March 10, 1956 – November 17, 2021


Kahri Lynn Wigen was born March 10, 1956 to Howard and Cindy Wigen of Whitman County, Washington. She joined a family of an older sister Robin, age 9; brothers Nick, age 6 and Kirk, almost 4. Her early years were spent on the family wheat farm with a hog-raising operation. Everyone was involved in the chores and farm work. Being the youngest and of an energetic and adventurous nature, she was always tagging along with a “can I help?” attitude. From the beginning, her buoyant manner and bright smile always brought a bit of extra light wherever she went. From those same early days she showed a keen interest in having a good joke or story to tell. As she grew, her passions included friends and horses. During the summer harvest she drove wheat truck hauling the crop off the hilly fields to the home granary. It was hot, dusty and demanding. No-o-o problem for Kar!

After graduating from La Crosse High School in 1974, she attended Washington State University where she earned a degree in Criminal Justice in 1978. Even in kindergarten, she was averse to the old “Early to Bed…” regimen, and so she gravitated to hospitality work. The hours suited her and provided a steady source of new characters and a place to share some favorite jokes and stories.

She always liked to keep her hands busy creating something. Around the Wigen house, one was apt to find some sort of quirky creation off in a corner somewhere. You had to look for them, since she wasn’t inclined to promote her portfolio. Later on, that talent was put to work doing boat restorations and house remodeling.

Priest Lake was a lodestone in her life from the very beginning. The Wigen family took their annual two-week vacation to Hill’s Resort every year after the wheat harvest, usually the second half of August. For the whole Wigen family, the year pivoted around the trip to “The Lake” (“The Wake” in early Kahri-speak), but Kar took it to her own new level. The water, the sand, the sun, the mountains, the trees and the returning cast of friends were an absolute slice of heaven after a hot, dry Whitman County summer.

So, in the early 1980’s, Kahri made Priest Lake her home and became one of the "Ladies of the Lake." She helped launch the annual Wooden Boat Parade. She was often seen on the lake in a wood boat and lived for a time on her Chris-Craft cabin cruiser with her cat. As a manager at Hills, Millies and other places, Kahri mentored the younger generations with humor and wisdom, forever enriching their lives. She had a caring, capable nature and showed up to help others, whether volunteering at community events or being there for dear friends . She could find the fun wherever it was happening, or create it herself. Her sense of humor was ever-present to the delight of many and the occasional consternation of some. She loved nature, was an avid mushroomer, a rescuer of dogs, and held an obvious respect for all living things.

She will be missed by many and will forever be part of the stories and the heart and soul of Priest Lake.

DONATIONS in Kahri’s name can be sent to the Better Together Animal Alliance.