Karen Jackman Ashton

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Karen Jackman Ashton is a philanthropist and storyteller known for cofounding Utah’s Thanksgiving Point and creating and organizing the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival.

Ashton attended Brigham Young University and married Alan C. Ashton, the co-founder of WordPerfect Corporation and a former professor at Brigham Young University (BYU). Her early philanthropy began with the Orem City Library and donations to BYU. Her work with the library grew into the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival. She served on the Utah Valley University Board of Trustees, the Primary Children's Medical Board, the Shakespearean Festival Board of Governors, the BYU Museum of Art board and the BYU President's Leadership Council.[1]

Timpanogos Storytelling Festival[edit]

In 1989 Ashton was the president of the 'Friends of the Orem Public Library' and was looking for projects to promote community involvement in the Library. Ashton had been volunteering at the library for years. When she saw an advertisement for a National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee she decided to attend and gather more ideas for stories and programs for the Orem Library.[2] It began in backyards and evolved into annual tradition that is now known worldwide. The Timpanogos Storytelling Festival takes place Labor Day weekend at the end of each summer in Lehi, Utah.[3] The festival draws a combined attendance of about 26,000 people each year, making it the largest storytelling festival in the western United States. The festival typically lasts two days and invites professional storytellers from throughout the United States. Some of the nation's most widely known storytellers perform.[4]

Thanksgiving Point[edit]

In partnership with her husband she developed Thanksgiving Point, a large real estate development in Utah that includes offices buildings, a golf course, restaurants, a dinosaur museum, movie theaters, a 55-acre botanical garden, and an annual tulip festival featuring 280,000 tulips.[5] Thanksgiving Point Golf Course, designed by Johnny Miller, is recognized as the largest golf club in Utah, covering more than 200 acres.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Ashton is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and with her husband they are parents of 11 children and more than 60 grandchildren.[7] She has served in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as matron of the Provo Utah Temple and on the Primary General Board and the Young Women General Board.[8]


  1. Heaps, Spencer (2019-05-08). "Karen Ashton". Provo Daily Herald. Retrieved 2019-05-08.
  2. Bulsiewicz, Michelle Garrett. "Come hear a tale at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival", Deseret News, Utah, 31 August 2017. Retrieved on 2 August 2019.
  3. Winters, Charlene Renberg (2009-06-01). "All Things Bright and Beautiful". BYU Magazine. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
  4. Morgan, Phillip. "7 things you might not know about the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival". Daily Herald. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  5. Winterton, Scott. "Tulip Festival kicks off 15th year at Thanksgiving Point April 12". Deseret News. Retrieved 2019-07-28.
  6. "Silicon Slopes Lifetime Achievement Award". Silicon Slopes Magazine. 2018-10-18. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  7. Wilcox, Lindsay (2018-06-24). "Orem philanthropists Alan and Karen Ashton named Freedom Festival grand marshals". Provo Daily Herald. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  8. Church News, June 1, 2013 [1]

External links[edit]

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