Karen A. Comstock passed away October 29, 2019 in San Francisco.

Karen was born June 24, 1944 in St. Maries, Idaho to Al and Thelma Vanderpoel. She moved to California with her family shortly afterward where she attended school and graduated from Los Gatos High School.

In 1963, she moved to Orick, where she met and married Donald Comstock. She worked for several years on the family ranch raising cattle and dairy heifers. Karen loved the outdoors and the wildlife abundant on the ranch. While raising her family, she became interested in painting and enjoyed painting natural scenes of the redwoods, ferns and rhododendrons. At one time, she rescued a baby bird, perched it on a fence and used it as a subject for her painting. Another time, she captured a banana slug and then complained because it ran off too fast for her to paint. Her paintings drew lots of attention and were displayed at several locations in Ferndale and Eureka.

Karen and family moved to Eureka in 1975 where she continued her artwork with sisters, Loraine and Sandra. Their business, Talent Poel, created beautiful scenes of animals and birds for stationary and was sold throughout Humboldt and Mendocino counties.

Karen’s creativity later extended from artwork into the kitchen where she cooked at various restaurants, including Ship Ashore in Smith River. She enjoyed coming up with creative, delicious specials, especially desserts. Her pecan pie was legendary. She eventually returned to Orick where she continued her artwork, managed her vacation rental and cared for her family. She could often be found at the beach in Orick.

Karen is survived by her son, Doug Comstock (Orick), daughter and son-in-law Kim and Matt Smith (Loomis), grandchildren Luke and Brooke Smith and Donald Comstock. She is also survived by sisters Sandra Vanderpoel, Loraine Heck (McKinleyville) and Linda Vanderpoel (Roseville). She is also survived by several beloved nieces and nephews. She touched our lives and made them better. Services will be private.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Karen Comstock’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.