Karen Ragan Jurkoic, aged 71, of Ten Mile, Tennessee, quietly left the presence of her beloved husband, Paul, and went to be with our Lord on 20 September 2021. COVID pneumonia complications took her from an active life, a loving family, and countless friends.
An American Patriot, Karen served her county for more than 20 years as a boom operator in the 134th Air Refueling Wing, McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base. In addition to taking her all over the world, her service earned her retirement with multiple decorations, including the Air Medal. Karen also enjoyed a second retirement from the U.S. Post Office.
Led by her keen appreciation of God’s creation, Karen was constantly photographing birds, flowers, sunrises, sunsets, butterflies, clouds, and thunderstorms. Even without a camera in hand, she often sat on the deck, happily watching hummingbirds engage in “aerial combat” for “fueling rights” at her feeders.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to experience as much of God’s handiwork as possible, Karen was like a kid on Christmas morning visiting the lava flows on the big island of Hawaii. On that same trip with her beloved husband, Paul, she delightedly seized the opportunity to swim with the manta rays.
Karen’s spirit of independence was fierce but so was her capacity to love, especially as it concerned her family. She treasured her husband, parents, siblings, and countless uncles, aunts, and cousins. Additionally, she loved her nieces, nephews, and grandnieces, and grandnephews as if they were her own children. Though her stepchildren came to her later in life, she wrapped her arms of love around them as if she had borne them. She cherished classmates from Glen Alpine and friends gathered from church and career.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Jay and Bobbie Ragan, and nephews, Lt. Weston Kissel, USAF, and Col. Patrick Ragan USAF (Ret.). She is survived by her husband Paul, her brother, sister, stepchildren, nieces and nephews, and dozens of much-loved cousins.
Karen’s memorial Mass is set for Thursday, 14 October at 10:30 (Eastern) at All Saints Catholic Church, 620 N. Cedar Bluff Road, Knoxville, TN.
Her interment ceremony with military honors is Friday, 15 October at 13:00 (Eastern) at Chattanooga National Cemetery, 12300 Bailey Ave., Chattanooga.
The family has requested donations to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital or the Tunnels-to-Towers Foundation in lieu of flowers.
Kyker Funeral Home of Kingston is serving the Jurkoic Family.