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Karla Heaton Thayne

February 18, 1945 ~ March 10, 2019 (age 74)

Karla (Heaton) Thayne, 74, passed away peacefully on March 10, 2019. Karla spent a lifetime caring for family and others. Her unconditional love and inspiration will never be forgotten.

Karla was born on February 18, 1945 in Salt Lake City, Utah and adopted shortly after by Allen and Bessie Heaton who provided her a loving home and wonder-filled childhood in Cedar City, Utah. There she developed many life-long friendships. She grew up fishing, hiking, riding horses and learning to swing a hammer alongside her father and two brothers. From her mother, Bessie, she gained a love of Madame Alexander dolls, which she would continue to collect as an adult.

At 18, she moved to Salt Lake City where she attended and graduated from the Executive Secretary program at LDS Business College. While in Salt Lake, she met and married Richard Swope with whom she would have three sons: Bret, Rick, and Dan Swope, who she loved dearly and devoted herself to raising. After living 7 years in Chicago, they would divorce and Karla would return to Utah in 1978 with her three sons.

Karla was a quick learner who excelled in all the jobs she held throughout her life, all while facing the challenges of a working single mother throughout much of the 70s and 80s. When first returning to Utah, she was fortunate to be hired by BYU. Later, she would take a job as an Executive Secretary at the Farm Credit Bank, where she would notably earn the position of Vice President.

In 1986, Karla met Dennis Thayne at a wedding reception and two years later they were married on June 11, 1988. While Dennis was retired at the time, in 1991 Karla suggested that Dennis “go back to work.” Karla and Dennis decided to open Thayne Insurance and Financial Services in Pleasant Grove, where they would work together for the next 28 years. She would take pride not only in growing their business but also in serving her clients who she greatly valued. In 1997, they would finish building the home she had dreamed about in Pleasant Grove where they resided for her remaining 22 years. 

Karla placed the greatest importance on her family and membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She was known for her selflessness, compassion, and acceptance of others. She gave birth to three children, but through her marriage to Dennis became a mother figure to his three sons Troy, Todd, and Trent Thayne. In 1995, Karla was blessed to discover and reunite with her birth mother, Joy Kjelstrom Schroeder, expanding her family once again as she would form lasting relationships with the Kjelstrom’s, including her newfound aunts, cousins and her sister Aileen Moseley and brothers Ray Schroeder and Roland Schroeder. She offered each of her children and grandchildren her unconditional support, shared in their struggles and pains, and cheered on their aspirations and victories.  

Her devotion to others extended to her community and church, where she served as faithful Ministering Sister.

Later in life, Karla had the opportunity to travel and experience cultures different from her own: Mexico, Canada, Scotland, Europe, Hawaii, Australia, Fiji. Her trips inside and outside the U.S. gave her great pleasure as she aspired to expand and enrich her life until the end.

In 2010, Karla was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Karla would receive outstanding care at the Movement Disorder Clinic at the University of Utah, and particularly from Dr. Megan Zorn. In 2015, Karla would undergo surgery to insert a Deep Brain Stimulator, which would allow her to resume an active life. Karla was among the first members of the Rock Steady Boxing at Legends Boxing Lehi, a program designed to improve the lives of people with Parkinson’s. Her inspiring coaches Andrew and Sherry along with her fellow-Parkinson’s boxers helped her battle with determination and enhanced her final years immensely. Karla became a voice for the benefits of boxing for Parkinson’s, encouraging others to join. 

Karla had a previous bout with cancer and was a proud survivor. After receiving a second diagnosis of terminal cancer, Karla was determined to make the most of her final months. She told her family, “We are not fighting the cancer, but we are fighting with love. Cancer is hard but love gives us great strength. We are fighting with love.” Karla was known by many as “Wonder Woman” because of the strength and fight she demonstrated to all who knew her. She remained an inspiration and example of strength, compassion and selflessness to the end.

Karla is preceded in death by her parents Allen and Bessie Heaton and Joy Kjelstrom Schroeder and grandson Nick Thayne she is survived by her husband Dennis, her two brothers Craig J (Linda) Heaton, Hurricane; and Al J (Toni) Heaton Moab; and her sister Aileen (Brewster) Moseley, Carson City, NV; Ray Schroeder, Riverside, CA; and Roland (Ophelia) Schroeder, Lancaster, CA.  and her three sons Bret (Jen) Swope, Orem; Rick Swope, Puerto Rico; Dan Swope, Orem. Dennis’ three sons Troy (Sue) Thayne, East Carbon; Todd (Leah) Thayne, Tooele; Trent Thayne, Pleasant Grove. Karla and Dennis have 16 Grand Children and 29 Great Grand Children.

The family expresses sincere thanks to Rock Steady Boxing, the Movement Disorder Clinic at the University of Utah, The Huntsman Cancer Institute, and the loving and compassionate care given by Encompass Health and Hospice.

Donations in Karla’s name may be sent to the Huntsman Cancer Institute at https://give.huntsmancancer.org

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 16, 2019 at 10:30 am in the Pleasant Grove Manila Creek Third Ward Chapel, 3396 North 900 West, Pleasant Grove (north of the Blue Silos).   Family and friends may attend viewings Friday evening at the church from 6-8 pm and also on Saturday from 9:00-10:00 am prior to funeral services.  Interment will be in the Pleasant Grove City Cemetery.  Condolences may be sent to the family at www.olpinmortuary.com

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