Karen N. Leigh

Leigh, Karen N.

Karen N. Leigh, aged 90, passed gently at home after a brief illness in the presence of her loving family. Preceded in death by her husband John D. Leigh of Oconto, Wisconsin and by her parents Yasoji and Chika Nakagawa, brothers Soichi, Sadamu, Lloyd, Toshio, Takeo, and Mamoru, and sister Fusako Murai. She is survived by her daughters Sharyn G. Leigh of Omaha; Valerie L. Seminara (Chuck) of Pearl City, HI; Maureen L. Hoye (Dan) of Alameda, CA; Lori L. Spivey (Tracy) of Lincoln; brother Henry Nakagawa of Honolulu, HI; grandchildren Allyson Sabatka (Jared), Jared Seminara, Torey Seminara, Jillian Seminara, Brendan Hoye, Michael Hoye, Andrea Spivey, and Shane Spivey. Great-grandchildren include: Kaileigh, Mila, and Adilyn. Karen is also survived by her beloved cats Caleigh and Leila.

Karen, the youngest of nine children, was born Mitsuko Nakagawa in Kealia, Kauai, Hawaii, to immigrant parents. After high school, Karen attended the Honolulu Business College on a scholarship. Following her graduation in 1947, she traveled to Japan to work for the United States government during the Allied occupation following WWII. It was there Karen met the love of her life and future husband, John, a member of the United States Air Force. They were married in Wisconsin in 1952. Together they raised four daughters and enjoyed numerous duty assignments around the world before settling in Bellevue in 1973. John and Karen remained married for 26 years, until John’s passing in 1978. Karen spent a 30-year career in the Federal Civil Service as a flight scheduler at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and as an executive secretary at the United States Strategic Air Command, Offutt Air Force Base. She retired in 1992.

A fiercely independent spirit, Karen lived a long life pursuing her many interests. She was a longtime active member of The Church of the Holy Spirit and served proudly in her later years as a member of the Alter Guild. Karen enjoyed spending time with her daughters, and her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also enjoyed cooking, swimming, exercising at the local YMCA, as well as solving crosswords and Jumbles. She had a passion for exploring new restaurants. She truly treasured her many long-time friends and valued the precious time they spent together. Karen was extremely proud of being from Hawaii.

Family and friends delighted in Karen’s mischievous sense of humor and her uniquely positive outlook on life. She will be deeply missed.

A celebration of her life will take place on Saturday, May 5, 2018, 1:00 p.m., at The Church of the Holy Spirit, 1305 Thomas Drive, Bellevue, NE.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials to the Nebraska Humane Society, or The Church of the Holy Spirit in Bellevue.


  • Rita Wright Posted April 29, 2018 10:15 am

    To the wonderful family of my best friend,Karen. She will be truly missed and remembered by all who knew her. She was a special friend! We can cherish the memories of this special lady.

    • Rita Wright Posted May 3, 2018 8:37 pm

      To the wonderful family of my best friend Karen. She will be truly missed and remembered by all who knew her. Karen was a special friend and lady. We can cherish the memories of this special lady

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