Vail Daily Obituary: Karri Lee Willemssen |

Vail Daily Obituary: Karri Lee Willemssen

Vibrant. Caring. Chatty. Those who knew Karri knew her as all of these things — and more.

Born in Hartsville, South Carolina, Karri lived briefly in Colorado and Japan before spending most of her childhood in the San Diego suburb of Rancho Bernardo, California. She graduated from Cabrillo High School in Lompoc, California, and earned her bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at San Diego. She was active in Sigma Kappa sorority, and organized ski trips for more than 1,800 college students throughout the University of California system.

Upon graduation, she moved to the Vail Valley, where she could pursue her outdoor passions — from skiing and softball to hiking to golfing. She immediately became an active part of her new community, serving as coach/manager of her company’s softball team, running for Avon Town Council, getting involved with her townhome homeowners’ association and wholeheartedly serving her industry’s professional organization, Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International.

Karri made lifelong friends through her years at Colorado Mountain Express, and cherished time spent with them singing karaoke, shooting pool and skiing on the beautiful slopes in the Vail Valley. Perhaps her biggest pride and joy were her nieces, Alex and Sammy, who nicknamed her Aunt Kiki. Her bright light, sweet spirit and ever-present smile will leave a lasting imprint on the hearts of all those who knew her.

She is survived by her parents David and Connie Willemssen; sister Kristen Vitols; brother-in-law Markus Vitols; nieces Alexandria and Samantha Vitols; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Her memorial service/celebration of life will be held on Saturday, June 3, at 1 p.m. at Gracious Savior Lutheran Church, 33520 U.S. Highway 6, Edwards. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation Shaw Cancer Center, P.O. Box 1529, Vail, CO 81658, in memory of Karri Willemssen.

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