Karen Ruth "Leggs" Tryon - Alwardt
Born January 25, 1942 in Sullivan, IN to Ruth Tryon, her life was blessed by family members who raised and nurtured her. Her uncle, Tell Tryon II, opened his home to her in infancy and raised her as his only daughter. Her grandmother, Mayme Tryon, and great aunt, Eva Vincent, were the main maternal influences in her life until she was 9 years old. Her uncle/dad married at that time, and his wife Josephine Tryon became an additional maternal blessing during her childhood and many adult years.
She married John David Pickett in June, 1961 (he predeceased her); she married Roman Anthony Olszewski in January 1967 (he predeceased her); and, she married Wilbert Paul Alwardt, Jr. in June of 1990, who passed away in February 2007. She stated, “I’m evidently too hard on my men”, so she never remarried.
She was also preceded in death by her biological mother Ruth Tryon; grandmother, Mayme Tryon; great aunt, Eva Vincent; mother Josephine Tryon; father, Tell Tryon II; grandson, Roy Kline; brother, Raymond Ash, Donald Ash, Ronald Ash; sister, Alita James; step-brother, Larry Brys; and step-son, David Alwardt.
Growing up in Terre Haute, IN, she graduated from Gerstmeyer High School in 1960 and, immediately moved to Chicago, IL. During the years 1961 to 1968, she graduated from Patricia Stevens and John Robert Powers Modeling Schools, modeled part-time, was a member of the Paramount Tall Club (being a striking 6’2” in height), was first runner up to Miss Tall Chicago twice, had her first child (Betty Jane) and worked as a legal secretary for the Teamsters Union experiencing the notorious Hoffa Trial.
In 1968, she moved to Springfield, Illinois. During the years of 1968 to 1974, she worked for Presney & Casper Law Firm, had her second child (Tammy Rose), traveled to California (her daughter, Betty Jane, was the only one to have good experiences while there), so the family moved back East. She said she “missed the snow”!
In 1974, she began working for the State of Illinois and attended Springfield College in Illinois. In 1990, she took a position at First of American Bank/National City leaving state employment behind. In 1999, the bank downsized, and she returned to work for the State of Illinois, retiring from there in May 2009.
She was a past member of the Ladies Auxiliary Fraternal Order of the Eagles 437. She was an avid bowler, dart player and shuffleboard player for many decades. Music, theater arts, reading and crossword puzzles also filled a great deal of her time. Most of all, she loved spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Survivors: daughters, Betty Jane (Erin) Kannady of Virden, IL and Tammy Rose Lindgren of Springfield, IL; grandsons, Charles A. (Gena) Goodwin, Jr. of Springfield, IL and Vryce Kannady of Chatham, IL; granddaughters, Christina (Chris) Holt of Greenview, IL, Karen E.J. (Kyle) Burgess of Girard, IL, Amanda Kline, Amber Kline and Angel Kline, all of Springfield, IL; great-grandchildren, Corenna, Serenity, Christine, Charles III, Shyann Goodwin of Indianapolis, IN, William, Nicholas, Dylan, Kaylee, all of Springfield, Lindsi and Lauryn Kane, Athena and Alexis Holt, all of Greenview, IL; Andrew Burgess of Girard, IL; Devon Kline of Springfield, IL; Terrence White and Aleyah White of Springfield, IL; with one more on the way, as well as a great great-grandchild on the way; brothers, Tell Tryon III of Terre Haute, IN; Gary (Yvonne) Ash of Booneville, IN and sister-in-law, Tonya Ash of Owensboro, KY. Several nieces, nephews, cousins, great nieces, and great nephews. Extended family: daughters, Tina (Robert) Heslop of New Castle, PA and Marilyn (Dennis) Weber of Myerstown, PA; son, Dale Alwardt of Newcastle, PA; several grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Per her request, there will be no visitation. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Memorials may be made to HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital – Springfield, IL.
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