Cover photo for Karissa Bates's Obituary
Karissa Bates Profile Photo
1993 Karissa 2015

Karissa Bates

December 18, 1993 — September 23, 2015

Karissa Noelle Conklin, also known as Karissa Joy Bates, was born on December 18, 1993 in Newport News, Virginia. She moved to New Mexico when she was 9 years old, first to Albuquerque, and then to Veguita with her mother when she was 14 years old. Karissa was autistic and had many medical issues. Every day was hard for her but she tried so hard to be the best person she could be. She loved living in Veguita where she was able to have a horse that she rescued and brought back to beauty and health. The best days of her life were spent riding Buster bareback around the property. Karissa loved animals and rescued many. If she saw an animal in need, she had to do something about it. When Karissa moved to her little "farm", she began her first business, the Happy Chickens Bawk Bawk Egg Company. She raised and cared for Rhode Island Red chickens and had fun sharing their beautiful fresh brown eggs with others. Karissa benefitted from her wonderful experience with Cloud Dancers of the Southwest, a therapeutic horsemanship organization for people with disabilities. She learned how to ride and care for horses. She found great comfort from the amazing connection she made with them. Her experiences there led her to the desire to have her own horses. In addition to her love for animals, Karissa enjoyed making baby blankets and hats for the UNM Hospital NICU. Her nephew Gabriel had spent 13 days there and she wanted other babies to have a special handmade blanket. Karissa enjoyed making Operation Christmas Child boxes every single year. She loved to track the boxes to find out where her presents went. Karissa had the absolute biggest heart in the world. She never wanted things for herself. She loved to do things for other people. Karissa was the president and CEO of her own little business, Awetistic Soap Company. She made homemade soaps, body washes, sugar scrubs, lotions and other pretty things. She sold and shipped her products all over the United States as well as to the United Kingdom, Scotland, and Canada, with the help of her mom and sisters. Her Awetistic Soap Company has its own Facebook page. Karissa enjoyed going to the library to check out audio books, DVDs, and books to read. She loved the television show Glee and memorized whole episodes and sang their songs. Last year she sang with Expressions of Joy, a choir for people with developmental disabilities. She had a banjo and wanted to learn to play it better. Karissa had many fun "girl dates" with her mom and sisters going to see movies at the theater, going to McCalls Pumpkin Patch, and finding little fun projects to do together. Her sisters treasured her and both of them went out of their way to do things with their baby sister, as well as to help and support their mom in the hard and difficult times. Karissa spent 11 weeks in three different hospitals this year, as her issues grew more serious. She developed diabetes and tachycardia from side effects of her medicines. In the end, she passed from a pulmonary embolism on September 23rd, at her home. Her tired body just could take no more. Karissa was very deeply loved by her mother Kaye Conklin Bates, and sisters Katie Groff and Kristina Madrid, who lovingly and patiently cared for her. She is survived by her mom and sisters, as well as her brother Jonathan Bates, "other brother" Matthew Groff, and "another other brother" Timothy Madrid, as well as her father, Paul Bates. Karissa loved being an auntie to her nephews Ethan, Gabriel, Caleb and Aaron. She was so excited about her niece, Kaitlyn Grace, who will be born in December. She leaves behind Grandpa Dean Conklin and his wife Carole, Papa Robert Jacobsen and his wife Claire, uncles, aunts, and cousins. Additionally, Karissa is survived by her beloved pets, kitties Kitkat, Benito the 2nd, and Fat Louie; and her misbehaving dogs who were often on her "trouble" list, Bertha and Tinkerbell. Karissa is also survived by a family of the heart, people who loved and cared for her "just because": Cupcake Auntie Jo Ann Ferguson, volunteer grandparents George and Bonnie Shivley, Janet Groff, Tony and Angela Madrid, Julia Wiard, Juanita Garcia, Billie Mathews, Charm Holman, Lianne Pierce, and Tim and Denise Sawyer. Karissa's family of the heart was always there for her, and she loved them all so very much! The family would like to thank her medical providers who did so much to try to help her: Dr. Josip Gazic, Dr. Mary Ann Conley, Dr. Frank Pieri, Dr. Heather Cumbo, Dr. Kathy Fresquez-Chavez, Mr. R. David Pacheco, Dr. Carla Bloedel-Clark, and Dr. E.B. Hall, along with Dr. Barbara Peavey and Dr. Frank Lawlis from the PNP Center in Dallas, TX. Karissa became an organ donor and her body has been cremated. Her memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 7, at 2 p.m. at Soul Rio Church in Rio Rancho. Her family would like to thank Tom and Susan Crow from Compassion Mortuary in Grants for their loving care and help in the difficult days that followed Karissa's death. Karissa's family requests memorial donations in the name of Karissa Noelle Conklin may be done as follows: Make an Operation Christmas Child box and send it in remembrance of Karissa. See the Samaritan's Purse website to find information on this wonderful project. Alternatively, donations may be sent to the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, P.O. Box 66122, Washington, DC 20035. You may also consider Disability Rights New Mexico, 1720 Louisiana Blvd. NE, Ste 204, Albuquerque, NM 87110. Or if you prefer, the organization that led to Karissa's great love of horses, Cloud Dancer Therapeutic Horsemanship, P.0. Box 14058, Albuquerque, NM 87191. We ask that you not send donations to Autism Speaks. Karissa, I am so glad that you are free from all your pain and struggles. I know that you light up heaven with your joyful soul! It comforts me to think of you reunited with your special horse, Buster, and your Grandma Marlene. You wanted to know her so much. I know that you are with her and you know her now! I will love you forever and I will see you again one day. You changed my life completely. You are forever my baby. I miss you so much. Love, Mom.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Karissa Bates, please visit our flower store.

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