Life Story for Karen Detwiler
Karen Evans Detwiler, known by many as K.E., passed away at age 66 on Sunday, August 20 after a long battle with corticobasal degeneration.
K.E. was a loyal friend, loving mother and family member, and the ultimate hostess. She always considered the outdoors her “church,” and she drew solace and strength from the mountains even in the most difficult times of her life.
Though raised in View Ridge, Seattle, K.E.’s heart was always in Sun Valley. She and her family began visiting the area in 1959. Her parents, Tom (now deceased) and Barbara Evans, opened the Tom Evans Ski School at Ski Acres just east of Seattle in the early 60s, and K.E. swiftly became a graceful expert skier, honing her talents both as an instructor at her parents’ ski school and on the slopes of Bald Mountain. Skiing was a passion of hers, and with the help of Higher Ground, a local nonprofit, she was able to keep skiing nearly until the end of her life.
Apart from skiing, K.E.’s early life was active and full. She swam for the View Ridge swim team, sailed each summer, and enjoyed trips to the family cabin on Bainbridge Island. She graduated from Nathan Hale High School in 1969, then attended the University of Washington, where she earned a teaching degree in home economics. K.E. was also a Tri Delta and served as Rush Chairman.
K.E. met the love of her life, Phil “Duster” Detwiler, in 1974. K.E. was Duster’s boss at the Sun Valley Inn, and they quickly realized they were meant for each other. They married in Seattle in 1977, bought a condo in Elkhorn in the 90s, and though their professional lives were based in the Bay Area, they longed to return to the valley.
She served as director of sales for the prestigious Huntington Hotel in San Francisco and La Playa in Carmel. After that, she was the “CEO of family management,” dedicating all of her time to keeping track of the couple’s young children while Duster travelled as vice president of sales for Seagate. They retired in 2000 to fulfill their dream of moving to Sun Valley, building their dream house in Golden Eagle Ranch. Sadly, Duster passed away shortly after their mutual dream was realized.
K.E. will be remembered for her kindness, grace, strength, and compassion. She is survived by her mother, Barbara Evans of Silverdale; her sister, Susan Trygg, of Bainbridge Island; her son, Drew Detwiler, of Boise; her daughter, Krista Millemann, of Ketchum; and many more beloved family members.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in K.E.’s memory to Higher Ground Sun Valley, Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Community School (Detwiler Scholarship Fund) or Hospice of the Wood River Valley. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, September 3 at 4 p.m. at the Detwiler family home.