Karlene R. Conaway Piper

December 15, 1938 to August 21, 2020

Former Iowa resident Karlene Conaway Piper died at her daughter Karin's home in Bradenton, Florida on Friday August 21, 2020. Karlene was born on December 15, 1938 in Toledo, Iowa to Earl Conaway and Irene Halverson Conaway.

Karlene attended Toledo schools and graduated in 1956 from Marshalltown High School. She also attended the University of Northern Iowa and graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 1979.

Karlene married Jim Wolford in 1956 and divorced in 1957. She married John Stevens in 1958 and divorced in 1977. She married Lonnie Piper in 1978 and they legally separated in 2017.

Karlene is survived by daughters Kristi Stevens, Karin Stevens Valley, Karma Engel, Korie Bayer and Kelly Stevens. She is proud of each who educated themselves with little help from parents. She is also survived by 8 grandchildren: Brandon Reyes, Laura Potter, Tali Reyes, Ben Reyes, Bree Ann Gallacher, Miranda Zimmer Darling, Maggie Bayer and Charlie Bayer; 14 great-grand-children: Alyssa Glaza, Dylan Reyes, Kyla Reyes, Jaceigh Reyes, Jack Potter, Sam Potter, Raina Reyes, Alexander Reyes, Benji Reyes, Aidan Garcia, Isaac Garcia, Isla Darling, Arlo Darling and Silas Darling, and a 1-eyed Pekinese rescue named Fancy.

She was privileged to go on a dependents' cruise on the submarine USS Tiru in 1960 from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. She was also very proud to be a part of the team that provided security to Pope John Paul II when he visited Cummings, Iowa in 1979.

Her family is so very proud of her and her contributions to women in non-traditional roles in a time when women blazing trails was not looked on favorably by many. Her story may be found in the Iowa Women's Archives. She is so very loved and admired by her children and her grandchildren whom she helped raise each and every one in some capacity. She took her role as a single mom by the horns and worked several jobs to provide for her children. She never hesitated to help out when a grand-child needed something – she put her family before herself always.

She was preceded in death by her parents, a brother Kerry "Bud," Jeannie Mikelsen Conaway, and a nephew Jimmy Lee Conaway.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cedar Bend Humane Society, 1166 W Airline Hwy, Waterloo, IA 50703.

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