December 19, 1944 – February 24, 2021
Karen Lee Frash Hand passed away suddenly on February 24 from complications related to her type 1 diabetes.
Karen was born in North Carolina to William Frash, USMC aviator, and Jeannette Jane Howard, both of San Diego, California, while her father was serving at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point. Karen lovingly recalled her childhood and the many moves the family made while her father was promoted, ultimately to full bird Colonel.
After retiring from the military, the family settled in Sacramento where her father worked in the aerospace business. Karen attended Encina High School and following her graduation, started college at UC Davis and later transferred to UCLA. Karen joined the Chi Omega Sorority at UCLA and was also a proud Bruin Belle.
Her creativity, enthusiasm and internal sparkle led to a job at Grey Advertising. While there, she met the love of her life, Russell Edward Hand, on a blind date. Karen’s fabulous style, meticulous attention to detail and her masterful ability to pull everything together set Karen up for a successful career in fashion during the Mary Tyler Moore era of clothing. Karen started off her fashion career working as a stylist at Joseph Magnin in San Francisco. Every weekend, she would fly with her colleague and dear friend, Stevie LeGras, to visit Russ and Stevie’s future husband, Dean, in Los Angeles on the weekends. Eventually, Karen moved south and joined the Century City store where she worked on publicity and fashion shows.
In 1970, Karen and Russ married at the Neighborhood Church in Palos Verdes Estates. They proudly welcomed their son, Mathew Russell Hand, in 1976, while living on the Marina Peninsula. Karen and her close friend and business partner, Linda Phillips, launched a fashion styling company called Finders-Seekers.
From there the family moved to Pacific Palisades, where they lived for decades. Karen enjoyed helping others and giving back to the community including volunteering at Mathew’s schools, Carl Thorpe and Saint Matthew’s, serving as president of the Westside Guild for two years which benefits the Children’s Hospital, and serving on the Irene Dunne Guild, which supports Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
As Russ acquired other automobile brands, including Toyota, Honda, Ford and Saturn, they traveled around the world to spectacular destinations on dealer trips. When Mathew was in his young teens, Karen and Russ purchased a vacation home in Friday Harbor, Washington, with their boat docked directly in front. Karen was always the gracious hostess, inviting friends and family to join in numerous excursions, making treasured memories.
In 2015, Russ passed away and shortly thereafter, Karen suffered the loss of her beloved son, Mathew, who succumbed to brain cancer in 2018.
Following the tragic passing of Russ and Mathew, Karen became more involved in Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church and joined an Emmaus group at the church. Her Emmaus group helped her grow immensely in faith and sisterhood, and she looked forward to their meetings every week. She made many wonderful friendships and truly loved her fellow Emmaus sisters.
Karen’s legacy was her son, Mathew, his wife Katie and grandchildren, Ashby O’Rourke Hand and Declan Russell Hand. Throughout her life, Karen made loyal and devoted friends with whom she shared many adventures.
Karen is survived by her brother William Howard Frash, wife Judi and their children, Michael Tyler Frash, his wife Chaya and son Kai William Frash, as well as Carrie Jane Frash, engaged to Kristian Baney, David William Frash, wife Jessie and infant son Harrison William Frash; and her sister, Julieanne Frash Hathaway and her children Katherine Willcox Hathaway, Cooper Cullins Hathaway, and Karen’s two grandchildren and daughter-in-law, Katie Moroney Hand.
Our wish is that Karen has flown to Heaven to meet the Lord and be reunited with her son, husband, mother and father, and dog Gretchen.
A celebration of Karen’s life will take place at Saint Mathew’s Church when it is safe and healthy to do so. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice.
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