Karen Sumiyama Rangel, age 90, went home to our Lord on April 25, 2022, at 12:11 pm surrounded at home by her loving family. Formerly of El Paso, TX, Karen moved to Albuquerque, NM, in 2014 to live with her son, Steve, and his family and was soon diagnosed with Dementia. As her condition deteriorated, she began receiving hospice services in 2017, remaining at home, cared for by her family for almost 5 years until her passing.
Following her Rosary at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, May 3rd at San Ysidro Parish in Corrales, NM, Karen will be returning to El Paso, TX. There will be a viewing from 5:00-7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 4th at the Evergreen East Funeral Home, 12400 East Montana. Her funeral Mass will be on Thursday, May 5th at 12:30 pm at St. Raphael Catholic Church, 2301 Zanzibar. She will be interred at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery, 5200 Fred Wilson Blvd, joining her husband, Leo Mendoza Rangel, who passed in 2004.
Besides her husband, Karen is also preceded in death by her parents, sister, and niece. She is survived by her three children Louis Rangel (Laurie), Steve Rangel (Linda), and Joan Ann Rolph, her six grandchildren, Stephen Rangel (Melissa), Charlotte Moseley (Justin), Angela Rangel (Susan), Breanna Rangel, Janessa Parra (Isachar), and Jonathon Rolph (Jamie), and nine great-grandchildren.
Karen was born Kyoko Sumiyama on November 5, 1931, in Kyoto, Japan to parents Soho Taro and Chiyo Tokai Sumiyama. She fell in love with an American soldier, Leo Mendoza Rangel, and they were married on February 25, 1952, at Post Chapel, Camp McGill, Japan. She was strong and courageous, leaving her homeland and coming to a new country not even knowing the language. She often said she learned how to speak English from watching I Love Lucy on TV. She was baptized in the Catholic Church and became a proud United States citizen, taking on the name Karen. Due to Leo’s service in the Army, their life’s journey took them to many locations throughout the world, and sometimes left her to raise their children on her own as he served overseas. They enjoyed 52 years of love and celebrations with family and friends before his passing in 2004. Together they loved their three children and six grandchildren, and Karen would live to see and love her great-grandchildren.
Karen was a devoted Catholic, bringing her children up in the faith and praying for her family. She was a student of her faith, attending the Tepiyac Institute Ministry Formation Program with the Diocese of El Paso and serving her parish, St. Raphael, as Extraordinary Minister of Communion and a sacristan for many years. She attended daily Mass and had a devotion to Our Blessed Mother and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
Karen embraced both her Japanese and American cultures with arts such as Ikebana flower arrangement, crochet, and ceramics, and performing Japanese Folk Dance, as well as County Western Line Dances well into her late 70s. She loved riding trains and carousels, going to the zoo, and visiting Santa, (until at last Santa had to come to her.) Karen loved dogs, including her Beany Baby “Chibi” dogs and held them tight the last several years of her life. She was outgoing and friendly, and as her dementia made her even more so, she would point her finger at everyone she saw three times as she said, “I love you, I love you, I love you.” We’re sure she’s saying that to all of us now from Heaven, the place of perfect love. God bless you, our beloved mom, grandma, “Baba,” Tia, godmother, sister, and friend. We love you, we love you, we love you!
If you would like to donate in lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate charitable donations to help the homeless and those less fortunate made to the Good Shepherd Center Homeless Shelter, 218 Iron Street, Albuquerque NM, 87102. (505-243-2527)
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