Karla Donley Castillo

1962 ~ 2023

Obituary Photo for Karla Donley Castillo < >


Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, SLC UT 84111
Sep 14, 2023 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Graveside Service

Salt Lake City Cemetery, 200 N Street, SLC UT
Sep 14, 2023 11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Karla Donley Castillo was born August 2, 1962, to Ralph and Lucille Donely in Salt Lake City, Utah. She passed away on September 6, 2023, following cardiac arrest on September 1, 2023.

Karla attended West High School and continued her education at Salt Lake Community College, studying early childhood development. She spent her lifetime enriching the lives of children, toddlers and babies. She spent many years working at The Neighborhood House and the last several years at Bio-Kids on the University of Utah campus. Her classroom was always a fun place to be and she specialized in Reggio Emilla Environments. She loved to bring the outdoors into her classroom.

Her family was always first in her life and in her heart. She had a great love and compassion for animals and collected several strays. We are sure that all of her beloved pets were waiting for her at the rainbow bridge. She had that same compassion for helping others and was always willing to help people in need.

She loved Mother Nature and being outdoors. She loved gardening (except for goat heads) and she loved working in her yard. One of her favorite things was sitting on her patio during thunderstorms. She was so proud to make homeownership a reality in her life and her home was always a warm and welcoming place for family and friends. She enjoyed making Mexican food and loved to share it with everyone.
After watching a movie about elephants, Karla developed a great respect for them and began collecting figurines of elephants, making sure they always had “trunks up”. Her favorite color was purple.

Karla is survived by her children Abel Castillo, Shaymen (Tosha) Castillo, Kelsie (Miranda) Riley and “adopted” daughter, Kaylyn Walker; grandchildren Shaymen Jr., Gabriel, Talia, Aleena, Areyon, Shaya, Shia, Seria and Kiaran. She is also survived by her sisters Lora Richardson, Rynda Monson, Tova (Alan) Taylor and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Karla was preceded in death by her parents, sisters Lynette Montgomery and Jan Morgan, and lifelong friend, Lydia Martinez.

The family wishes to thank the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Utah Hospital for their loving and compassionate care and for the transparency they shared with her family. Karla was a registered organ donor and wanted to bless more families even after her life, but in the end was unable to fulfil that part of her wish. We would also like to thank the donor team, who was there to support us and walk us through the process.

A viewing will be on September 14th from 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. at Larkin Mortuary at 260 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah and directly following, a graveside service will be held at Salt Lake City Cemetery at 11:00 a.m. Also, a celebration of life will be held on Saturday, September 16th at 1040 North Redwood Road (enter from 10th North), Salt Lake City, Utah 84116 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.


Our most sincere sympathy for the loss of such a lovely person. What a wonderful tribute you gave. I wish I had known her myself. I have heard wonderful and sometimes entertaining stories of a loving, blessed family. She may not have been able to fulfill the organ donation but she definitely made a difference in many lives, it sounds. Enjoy reminiscing and keeping her memory alive through your words and good lives. Prayers and blessings for you all. We grieve with you.

- Michelle and Wolt Van Der Torren

I'm so sorry for your loss my condolences go out to you and your family

- Cherise marchant

Karla made a big impression on our daughter during the short time they overlapped at BioKids. Karla could always make her smile and cheer her up when she was feeling down. She made every child feel welcome and loved.

- William Brazelton

We are devastated about this news. Karla cared for our little boy Mason for the past year+ at BioKids and she also babysat for us in our home. Karla is soooo special to us. I am so sorry for this loss. We will never forget Karla.

- Julie Hales

I’m saddened to hear about my moms best friend has passed away !! And my cousin Abel mother!!! I want to share my deepest condolences to her and her family.. this is a tragedy.. that I didn’t see coming .. I hope you and my mom are up there laughing and telling jokes .. and they loved to dance .. I want to also mention how much we love u Karla.. until we meet again .. tell my mom save a spot for me .. love u guys always 🙏🙏🙏🩵🩵🩵 rip to a beautiful soul Karla love mo😇🩵🙏

- Monique Mendoza

I’m so very sorry for your loss. Karla was a very dear friend while we were growing up. We lived on the same street Ouray Ave., we recently reconnected on FB. My heartfelt condolences to the family. Fly high my beautiful friend. Sending healing hugs and love to the family.

- Laura Garcia

Karla cared for our son at BioKids - they started the very same week when he was only 4 months old; they quickly developed a special bond. She became his favorite caregiver at daycare and her love made it so much easier for us to leave him in her care. She loved both our kids and we all loved her. She will always have a special place in our hearts. We are so sorry for the loss!

- Sarah Seegert

Oh Karla! How I will miss your kind spirit ♡ I love you so much and I will miss you dearly! Thank you for all the memories, laughs, tears and hugs! You were definitely the best mother in law any girl could ask for! Thank you for taking me in and treating me as your own, thank you for being the best grandmother to Aleena ♡ I will forever treasure our relationship and I know Aleena will make you proud. Watch over her ♡ Abel, Shaymen, and Kelsie; im so terribly sorry for the loss of your mother, may you go on knowing she will ALWAYS be with you ♡

- Krystal Gomez