Search Tips

Karen McBride 1945-2020 Tuesday, July 21, 2020


Karen Laurie McBride, 74, Bismarck, passed away Friday, July 17, 2020, at CHI St. Alexius Health, Bismarck. A private funeral service for family and invited friends will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, July 24, at House of Prayer Lutheran Church, Bismarck. Due to COVID-19, masks are required, and social distancing will be practiced. The service livestream will be available on Karen's obituary at the time of the service.

Born Nov. 10, 1945, to Helen and Carlyle Christensen in Minot, Karen Laurie Christensen lived in Flaxton and Bowbells before moving to Minot at an early age. After graduating as salutatorian from Minot Model High School, she studied English and music at Minot State University, graduating magna cum laude. After working as a paralegal with the McGee Law Firm in Minot, she attended the UND School of Law and received her Doctor of Jurisprudence, graduating with distinction and as a member of the honors society the Order of the Coif.

Karen first practiced law at Robert Vogel Law Offices in Grand Forks, and then in Bismarck, at Lundberg, Nodland, Schulz, et al. before joining what is now called Schweigert, Klemin, and McBride in 1990, and becoming a shareholder in 1996. During her long tenure as a practicing attorney, Karen received four American Jurisprudence Awards and was a member of the Big Muddy Bar Association, the State Bar Associations of ND and Minnesota, the Western Dakota Estate Planning Council, and the Real Property and Probate Section of the ND Bar Association. She also gave seminars on estate planning and appeared frequently on the television segment “Ask an Attorney,” broadcast on western ND’s NBC affiliates.

She was an extremely talented musician, and her work as a vocalist and a pianist remained deeply fulfilling throughout her life. An active member of both Dakota Chamber Chorale and Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus, she accompanied and helped produce the chorus’ annual “Evening on Broadway” for 26 years, in addition to serving as board president, librarian, section leader, and soloist. Her other musical contributions included serving as rehearsal and production pianist for 18 years for the Minot State University Summer Theater, as a choir member and song-leader at House of Prayer Lutheran Church, and as accompanist for numerous theater productions at Mandan High School. Karen also served the community as a past member of the Bismarck Mandan Chamber Ambassadors.

Karen found great pleasure in life, enjoying friendships, family, good food, fine wine, and all genres of the arts, particularly music and literature. An avid traveler, she sought out rich experiences, visiting almost 50 countries on cruises and tours. She was a voracious reader of all genres, a cat lover, and a devoted daughter, sister, aunt, friend, and colleague.

Karen is survived by her sister, Cathy Knutson and her husband Kristian, Fargo; niece, Karla Knutson and her husband Lukas Andrud, West Fargo; niece, Corene Freeman and her husband Tyler, Fargo; as well as great-niece, Claire Knutson Andrud; great-nephew, Baxter Freeman; aunt, Della Willhelm; and numerous cousins. She also is survived by her long-time companion, Richard Riha.

Karen was preceded in death by her parents, Helen and Carlyle Christensen; grandparents; and many cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Memorials may be sent to Central Dakota Humane Society, the Bismarck-Mandan Civic Chorus, or to Prairie Public Broadcasting.

Funeral Home Link: