Dr. A.L. "Britt" Karns, 78, Joplin, Mo., a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, passed away on Friday, December 8, 2017, after a short illness. He was born in 1939, on the Cheyenne River Reservation in Eagle Butte, S.D., to the late Lester and Ruby (Rousseau) Karns. He was one of nine children, his family moving around through Missouri and Iowa, and eventually settling in central Iowa. He graduated from Clemons Schools in 1957.
He married his one and only sweetheart, Donna (Weitzell) Karns, on February 28, 1959, in Marshalltown, Iowa. He often told how the very first time he saw her, he just knew she was the one. He won her heart, they married and had five children. She precedes him in death.
He was a devout Catholic and a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church.
Britt worked many different jobs, but he thrived as a salesman working for companies such as Continental Hoxie, Doyen Foods, and Harrison House. As much as he loved sales, he knew that he wanted to do more, something where he could help others. He decided he wanted to become a chiropractor, loving the natural approach of chiropractic care, helping others with their ailments and pains. Britt being determined, as we all know him to be, worked many jobs at night and went to school during the day, always providing for the family, with Donna and five kids at home, to make this happen. He graduated from the renowned Palmer Chiropractic College in 1976. Shortly after graduating, he moved the family to Joplin, Mo., where he started his first practice. He thoroughly enjoyed being a chiropractor and all the wonderful people he had come to know in his 32 years of practice in Joplin, and Aurora, Mo.
After retiring, Britt enjoyed volunteering every week at the St. Peter's Outreach and Mercy Hospital. One of his most favorite things to do was to go camping. Donna and him had taken the kids camping since they were babies, and he continued to make it a priority to spend as much time as he could next to a clear Missouri creek, soaking in the beauty of southwest Missouri with family and friends. He would always say, "Now, this is the life".
He is survived by his children who loved him so, Brian Karns (Annette), Joplin, Laurie Childs (Robert "Kim"), Marshalltown, Iowa, Todd Karns, Joplin, Jamie Karns (Jane), Joplin, and Lynn McKnight (Yancy), Austin, Texas; seven grandchildren, who thought he was pretty neat, Dan Childs (Edina), Altoona, Iowa, Leah Karns, Aurora, Colo., Austin Karns, Joplin, Kayla Kaufmann (Zach), Monroe, Iowa, Alex Karns, Joplin, and Brody and Brock McKnight, Austin; and two great-grandchildren, Kaden and Kyson Childs, Altoona; one brother, Carlton Karns, St. Anthony, Iowa; and three sisters, Betty Foster, Boone, Iowa, Margaret Ridout, Garland, Texas, and Reta Mae Oetker, Marshalltown. His family included many other family members and a host of friends. He was preceded in death by his wife, Donna; his parents, Lester and Ruby Karns; and his brothers, Dick, Kenny, Larry, and Stan Karns.
Although Britt will be missed by so many, we are comforted in knowing that he found peace and glory in Heaven with the Lord and has been reunited with his one and only true love, Donna, forever.
Funeral Mass for Dr. Karns will be held on Thursday morning, December 14, at 10:30 a.m. at St. Peter's Catholic Church, in Joplin, with Father J. Friedel officiating. Burial will follow at the Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery, in Joplin. Those honoring his life by serving as pallbearers are Brian Karns, Jamie Karns, Todd Karns, Dan Childs, Austin Karns and Alex Karns with Brody McKnight, Brock McKnight, Kim Childs and Yancy McKnight serving as honorary pallbearers. A Prayer Service is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday evening in the chapel of Thornhill-Dillon Mortuary, in Joplin, with visitation to follow until 7:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are being directed to St. Peter's Outreach House, in care of the mortuary.
Online condolences may be sent to the family through
Arrangements are under the personal care and direction of Thornhill-Dillon Mortuary, in Joplin.
Published on December 12, 2017