Local Obituaries

She placed flowers on her father’s grave and pulled away. Then a van hit her SUV

Karen Capps and her son, Mike. Karen Capps was killed Saturday in west Wichita when she pulled over to wait for a funeral procession to pass.
Karen Capps and her son, Mike. Karen Capps was killed Saturday in west Wichita when she pulled over to wait for a funeral procession to pass.

Karen Ruth Capps had just placed flowers on her father’s grave Saturday morning.

She and her 86-year-old mother, Jaunita, had bought the flowers at Hobby Lobby and then driven to Resthaven Gardens of Memory.

Then Ms. Capps pulled her red SUV out of the Resthaven cemetery and pulled over near 119th Street West and Beaumont to wait for a funeral procession on 119th Street to pass.

She did it out of respect, said her son, Mike Capps of Wichita.

It was 11:31 a.m. Saturday.

A 31-year-old driver in a green mini-van failed to stop for the stopped vehicles and rear-ended the car Karen Capps was driving, police say.

Ms. Capps, a 59-year-old food nutrition technician for the Wichita school district, died at the scene. Her mother suffered six broken ribs.

“I don’t think anybody intended for somebody to die that day. Nobody intended for that tragedy to happen,” Mike Capps said. “I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it was inattentive driving, maybe. But my mother was doing what she was supposed to do.

“She was shopping with her mother and had just been talking about what they were going to have for lunch and whether I’d meet them,” he said.

The visitation for Ms. Capps will be at 5 p.m. Friday at the Baker Funeral Home, 100 S. Cedar Ave, in Valley Center.

Funeral will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Riverview Baptist Church, 844 W. 53rd St. North.

She was born Dec. 2, 1958 in Wichita. She grew up in Valley Center and graduated from Valley Center High School in 1976, her son said.

“They were really close – that was her life,” Jaunita Capps said Tuesday of the mother-son bond.

“I had missed putting anything on his (Edward Howard Capps) grave for Valentine’s Day and his birthday and she said, ‘Mom, don’t worry. We will just get those done on Saturday,” Jaunita Capps said. “We went out of the (cemetery) driveway and saw a funeral coming so she said she’d pull over. As soon as we stopped it felt like a freight train hit us.

“I looked over and I knew she was gone. She wasn’t moving.”

On Tuesday, Jaunita Capps talked of Mike and of the two little dogs Ms. Capps had – a chihuahua mix named Haas and a dachshund mix named Tessa.

“She liked to have fun. She liked people and she loved the little dogs, they were her babies,” Jaunita Capps said.

Ms. Capps devoted her life as a single mother to taking care of her son, Mike Capps said.

“My mom was a single mom from the day I took my first breath until she took her last breath,” he said. “I was always the priority. She made sure I had every one of my needs met. She scraped and sacrificed for years and went without to make sure I had what I needed.”

In recent years, Mike Capps said he was able to begin paying her back. She enjoyed watching her grandson, Charles, play football under scholarship at Washburn University and donating to local rescue animal shelters.

She had planned to retire in May.

Ms. Capps is survived by her mother, Jaunita; son, Mike; two brothers, Dale and Edward; sister, Debbie Sizemore; and grandson Charles.

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner