Karen Fryklund, longtime Santa Barbara resident, passed away at home on March 29th, 2023. Karen was the beloved wife of Richard Fryklund, loving mother to Nicole (Evan) and Darin, and doting grandmother to Lana and Ellis. She will be greatly missed by all those who knew her.
Karen was born on April 30th, 1949 in Los Angeles to real estate developers Anne and Raymond Neiditch. In classic Karen style, she earned her first paycheck before she even turned one year old. She was cast in the 1950s movie My Blue Heaven starring Betty Grable, where she played the part of a baby grabbing a feather from a hat.
As a teen, Karen went to Hamilton High where she was a member of the Lorelles. Karen graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971 and went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Education at Sonoma State University. It was while at Berkeley that she met Richard, her husband of 48 years. Karen and Richard had a backyard wedding ceremony with a Micky and Minnie Mouse ice cream cake.
Karen and Rick ran their own real estate and property management business for 45 years. They started out in Santa Clarita and moved to Santa Barbara in 1990 with their two children.
Karen was a prolific traveler, visiting more than 125 countries. She took most trips with her husband, as well as several with her kids. Her travel included seeing Timbuktu in Mali, hiking in Bhutan and the highlands of New Guinea, seeing gorillas in Rwanda, and following the Silk Road through “the Stans” and Iran. She loved wildlife adventures throughout Africa, India, Patagonia, Alaska, and the Galapagos, visiting sites such as Machu Pichu, Angkor Wat, Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Borobudur, Tikal, Petra, Persepolis, Bagan, and the pyramids. Her most loved trips included Madagascar, Easter Island, and being in Ethiopia during their turn of the millennium celebration. Her favorite trip, however, was the first, a five-month trip with her husband, where they travelled around the U.S. in a converted van.
Karen loved to read books about the history and culture of the countries she visited. She also enjoyed socializing with friends, cooking, book club, and playing pickle ball. She loved spending time with her family and was known as Kiki to her grandchildren and their friends. Karen was involved in the community, including donating to and volunteering with many charities such as the American Cancer Society.
Karen was always full of youthful energy and love for life. She was a problem solver and will always be remembered for her sense of humor, adventure, tenacity, and the ability to pick a perfect watermelon every time.