Memorials planned for Kaarisa Karlten (Keitheen Nichols), 1959-2017

Kaarisa Karlten, originally known as Keitheen Nichols, has died at 57, and family and friends will gather soon in two cities to remember her. Here’s the remembrance her family is sharing:

Born Keitheen Ione Nichols on January 28, 1959, the middle child of five to Keith and Thomasine Nichols of Seattle, she passed away on January 12, 2017, battling breast cancer. Memorial celebrations will be held on January 28th at 3pm at Fauntleroy Church in West Seattle, and in LaGrande, Oregon on February 4th at 3 pm at LaGrande’s Marketplace, 1101 Washington Avenue.

A West Seattle High School graduate, Keitheen went on to study Interior Design at Bellevue College. She used her education in many creative endeavors from interior design, painting, drawing and murals.

Keitheen also attended Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington, and further studied Entrepreneurship, Business, and Multimedia. She lent her artistic talents to creating a backdrop and set for a local television production of “Storytime,” featuring local storytellers. And she put her education to use forming a business, Cottageware, putting her drawings and designs to work on aprons and kitchen dishtowels, selling them at local shops.

At 50 years old, she decided to change her legal name to Kaarisa Karlten, tired of her name being mispronounced her whole life.

She moved to LaGrande, Oregon in 2003, where she channeled her artistic talents with her husband, Wyatt Williams in their custom metal work business, Williams and Karlten Design and Fabrication. Their work can be seen among many businesses in LaGrande and surrounding areas.

Kaarisa believed in always leaving a place better than you found it, and her life is a legacy of that belief, whether you knew her for years, briefly, online or in person. She volunteered in many community events, even Delridge Day (photo at right) to help her daughter’s community. She was a vibrant soul who believed in living life to the fullest as your truest self.

She is survived by her husband Wyatt Williams; three children, Holli Margell, Hance Edwards, Hannah Jane Winn; two stepchildren: Garrett Williams and Kasey Lathrop; three grandchildren; her brothers Stephen Nichols and Michael Nichols; and sister Heidi Henry.

Photos by Holli Margell.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to

12 Replies to "Memorials planned for Kaarisa Karlten (Keitheen Nichols), 1959-2017"

  • wseavirgo January 20, 2017 (5:07 pm)


  • Curate January 20, 2017 (5:17 pm)

    This is terribly sad. She sounds like a wonderful person, mother, artist, wife. Her life was too short.

  • JoAnne January 21, 2017 (3:24 pm)

    Thank you, Kaarisa for being my friend, showing me how to cope with pain and loss, embracing me when I needed you, and making me feel loved, appreciated, and safe.

    Still not sure how to face the world without you, but will try to become more like you–calm, serene, kind, and generous.

    Grateful for the time we had together.

  • Holli January 21, 2017 (7:33 pm)

    My mom was my first cheerleader, advocate and teacher, it has been incredibly hard to sum up her life. I learned that most news publications charge a lot of money to do this, and I am so grateful for the WS Blog to provide space to share without such difficult constraints. Such a service to our community, thank you!

  • Lorie M January 21, 2017 (8:14 pm)

    What a beautiful photo Holli. I never met your mother but can see that you have her creative spirit : )

    • Holli January 23, 2017 (5:41 pm)

      Thank you, Lorie!

  • Tasha January 21, 2017 (10:05 pm)

    Holli, what a lovely tribute to a well-loved and talented woman. It’s no doubt where your kind heart and artistic talent stemmed from. I will always think of her as the beautiful Tree Woman. 💗

    • Holli January 23, 2017 (5:41 pm)

      Thank you, Tasha – me too, this is my favorite photo of her – a strong radiant woman.

  • Chris Kindem January 22, 2017 (1:27 pm)

    Dearest Holli,

    you for sharing this beautiful tribute to your mom.  I never had the
    blessing of meeting her, but I can see from your words what an amazing,
    creative, talented, loving woman she was!  What a wonderful way
    to live her life ~ always leaving a place better than she found it.
      What a gift! 
    I can see where you get so many of the gifts that you, Holli, share with
    the world ~ your warmth, kindness, generosity, creativeness, artistic talent,
    your love ~ from your precious mother.
    are so blessed to have
    you in our lives, and I know that your family and
    everyone who knew her were profoundly blessed to have the gift of
    your mom
    in their lives!
     We are thinking of you and
    your family, and are holding you in our hearts and in our prayers.

    ~ Chris, Erik, Kai and Naomi


    • Holli January 23, 2017 (5:40 pm)

      Thank you and your family for your warm thoughts and love!

  • Cami Peloza January 24, 2017 (11:06 am)

    Such a warm and lovely photo of your mom. It sounds like she had a gift for creating beauty in this world and has left quite a legacy. We send you are love, Matt, Cami, Cole and Abby

    • Holli Margell January 25, 2017 (11:30 am)

      Thank you, Cami! And your wonderful family too 

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