Karsten Wilson

My Son – Karsten Wilson

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My son, Karsten, was born in 1970 in San Francisco, CA. His first 6 years were spent living in Fairfax, CA. Karsten was a happy baby and very bright. At age 3 he accidentally fell from our second story window landing on his head on a cement driveway below. This was a terrible trauma for him, his father, David, and me. He spent the next several days in the hospital, but recovered thankfully with only a skull fracture.

Shortly thereafter, David and I divorced and Karsten’s life began to change. We took in an 86 year old woman named Emily Hiller who was a distant relative of David’s. Karsten and Emily spent many hours playing together in spite of their big age difference.

Karsten began pre-school at age 5 in a nearby Montesorri school and had next-door neighbor friends, Dawn, Ronnie, and Denise, he played with. That summer, while I had time off from the SF Opera, we took a 3 month camping trip from CA to Canada. It was a really fun time of hiking, crafts, sight-seeing and adventures. During the trip I visited my former neighbor who was living in Oregon and was introduced to John Grossenbacher, whom I married a year later. John liked Karsten from the first. 

Karsten and I moved to Coos Bay, OR in June 1976 and John and I married there. Within a few months I became pregnant with Karsten’s sister, Dena. Karsten began 1st grade in Coos Bay, skipping kindergarten, something he later told me he regretted. He was big for his age, and very smart, so skipping a grade seemed good for him at the time.

He was a very good, responsible big brother. Although he was 7 years older, they played together a lot. A year later we moved to a small farm outside of North Bend, OR where Karsten learned to ride horses as well as his bike and eventually cars. Again there were neighbor children to play with. He joined a 4-H club and rode his horse at the county fair every year, getting blue ribbons.

By the age of 13 he went to a summer camp at SOSC in Ashland and was introduced to the world of computers. He came home determined to get his own. In those days (1983) it was an Apple IIe computer. Very primitive, but exciting. He quickly mastered it and was writing programs for his sister, me, and his teachers at school. As a junior he remarkably decided to go out for the football team. By then, his sister took over the horse-showing, and he occupied himself with football, computers and his girlfriend and later-to-be wife, Christine Koehler.

He got top marks all through school and graduated at the top of his class from North Bend High School in 1988. With scholarships in hand he attended Oregon State University, OSU, in Corvallis, OR where he majored in Mechanical Engineering. During his junior year, he and Christine married and they both worked while he finished his degree. After graduation he got a job at the Hewlett-Packard Co. in Corvallis where he still works today in the printer division. 

Shortly after buying their first home, their 1st son, Ryan, was born. Karsten was a devoted dad and husband. When Ryan was 2 yo, HP sent the family to Barcelona, Spain where he worked for a year. During that time abroad, his 2nd son, Tyler, was born. Once back in the states they moved to a bigger home in Corvallis, but once again he got sent overseas with HP, this time to Singapore where Ryan started school. Upon their return, Karsten moved his family to Eugene, OR so that both boys could continue in gymnastics which was unavailable in Corvallis.

Karsten continues his interest in computers and gaming, which he has shared  with both his boys.  He has been a devoted dad and supported both boys through years of gymastics competitions, working at and attended all their meets.  Having successfully launched both his sons into adulthood, he filled his “empty nest” by developing his auto-mechanic skills, into a fun full-time hobby. He’s learned how to weld, and paint cars too.  Now his passion has turned to racing cars.  He’s a member of the Lucky Dog Racing League and is building his own race cars now!  It’s hard to keep up with all his vehicles these days.

Both he and Christine have been enjoying camping the last several years too.  They have fun taking their Great Pyrenees dog, Lucy, with them on camp-outs and hikes.  I also enjoy joining them when possible.

 Karsten continues to work for HP in their printer division working on 3-D printers and  large digital printers.  There have been many trips abroad for work.  Fortunately Christine loves to travel as well, so they’ve seen a good part of the world.  Time will tell if they remain in Eugene or move sometime in the future.  We hope not far away.