Cover photo for William R.  Karns's Obituary
William R.  Karns Profile Photo
1933 William 2022

William R. Karns

October 12, 1933 — August 29, 2022

William R. Karns, 88, of Rocky Grove, passed away on Monday, August 29, 2022 at UPMC Northwest in Seneca.

Born on October 12, 1933 in Oil City, he was the son of the late Robert and Edna Karns.

He graduated from Rocky Grove High School in 1951 where he participated in many sports. He worked a short time at CPT before being drafted into the United States Army. He proudly served his country for two years active duty and six years in the Army Reserves.

On April 24, 1953 he married the former Thelma “Jane” McClimans and they shared 69 years together.

After the service he worked a short time at the former Amalie Refinery, he then joined the Plumbers and Steamfitters Union where he was a member for over 50 years.

In 1978 he opened his own business, Karns Plumbing & Heating, working there until his retirement. His son, Darrell owned and operated the business until his retirement and his grandson, Mike Swope is now the owner.

Bill was an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Franklin, serving on many boards. He was a member of the Hayrake Baseball League and was involved in Little League, Junior American Legion and served as Manager. He was an active member of Wanango Country Club, the former Franklin Club and Franklin Kiwanis Club. He was a 32 Degree Mason for over 50 years and a member of Lake Myrtle Lodge 316. He was a member of The Valley of Oil City and Scottish Rite N.M.

He was also a member of the Rocky Grove School Board for several years and served as President. He and his wife traveled to various locations for Golf Trips.

In addition to his wife he is survived by his daughter, Debbie Lerch (Steve), a son, Darrell Karns (Vivian) all of Franklin; his family also includes three grandchildren, Stephanie Swope (Mike) of Franklin, Andrew Karns of Summerville, SC and Raeann Johnson (Trevor) of Franklin; six great-grandchildren, Meghan Emerson (Jonathan) of Franklin, Amanda Swope of Melbourne, FL, Emma Karns and Ethan Karns of Summerville, SC, William Johnson and Liam Johnson of Franklin and one great-great grandson, Braxton Emerson of Franklin; a brother-in-law, Robert McClimans (Joan) of Rocky Grove.

He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents he was preceded in death by two sisters, Helen Muldoon and Ruth French; a brother, Robert Karns; two brothers-in-law, John McClimans and Chuck Campbell; two sisters-in-law, Peg Campbell and Jewel McClimans.

Bill was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great grandfather. He cherished his family very much.

Bill’s family wishes to thank everyone who was part of his life the last few years, including The Caring Place, UPMC Northwest, Oil City Healthcare, First Presbyterian Church and family and friends.

Family and friends are welcome from 9:30 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. Saturday at the First Presbyterian Church, 1250 Elk St. Franklin, PA 16323.
Bill will receive Military Honors rendered by the V.E.T.S. Honor Guard at 10:30 A.M. Saturday at the Church.

A funeral service will be held at 11:00 A.M. Saturday in the Church with Rev. Barry Jenkins, Church Pastor, Officiating.

Interment will follow at Franklin Cemetery.

Funeral arrangements entrusted to Huff-Guthrie Funeral Home & Cremation Services Inc., 312 West Park St. Franklin.

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made in Bill’s name to the Rocky Grove Volunteer Fire Department, 29 Shuffstall St. Franklin, PA 16323 or Precious Paws, 720 Atlantic Ave. Franklin, PA 16323.

Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William R. Karns, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, September 3, 2022

9:30 - 10:30 am (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church

1250 Elk St., Franklin, PA 00000

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

First Presbyterian Church

1250 Elk St., Franklin, PA 00000

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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