Karen Lee (Tollefson) Warke, 80, passed away peacefully at Prairie Senior Cottages in New Richland on December 9th, 2020, with her loving husband by her side.
Karen was born February 16th, 1940 to Delmer and Beryl (Dodge) Tollefson. She was raised on a farm in the Lemond area. She was baptized and later confirmed her faith in her youth at Pontoppidan Lutheran Church. Karen attended New Richland-Hartland School where she was a cheerleader and a majorette, graduating in 1957. During her school years, she worked at Abraham’s Grocery Store in New Richland. On October 31st, 1958, she was united in marriage to her soulmate and best friend, David Warke, at Pontoppidan Lutheran Church of Lemond. Karen worked at Federated Insurance and E.F. Johnson Company, as well as Land O’ Lakes in New Richland, MN. Karen spent many years on the road as co-pilot for her truck driver husband, David, later becoming his dispatcher and bookkeeper for the trucking and transportation business they started together in 1990 as DKW Transport. She did a wonderful job managing the office and drivers for many years.
Karen was a member of Trinity Lutheran Church, where she served on many committees throughout the years. She was also a beautiful singer and a member of the church choir. Her strong faith and love for her church family could be easily recognized. Karen had a passion for bowling and golf, and she and David enjoyed their time together as they golfed on many different courses. Karen and David enjoyed many vacations and travels together to Mexico, Arizona, and Florida. They enjoyed these special years and times with close friends, always managing to have great times together, along with a lot of laughter, creating memories for a lifetime.
Karen had a quick-wit and an energetic/spirited vitality for life that very few could match. She was a big sports fan who enjoyed watching her Minnesota Vikings and Minnesota Twins. It was always a good time watching the games with her because her enthusiasm was priceless. She would cheer loudly and jump up and down whenever there was a good play, run, or touchdown scored. One of her favorite players back in the day was Benchwarmer Bob. We are certain that his wit was a big factor in her liking him so much. At Christmas family gatherings, everyone looked forward to Karen’s “special” gifts that she would pass out to specially chosen and targeted recipients. These were not ordinary Christmas gifts, but more like booby prices, as she would read a little limerick that she composed for each recipient and then she would spring a corresponding humorous gift on them. Each of her limericks were very clever and a funny little story about the person regarding something that they did, or some interesting event or situation that happened to them over the course of the year. It was kind of like her version of a Dean Martin Roast. Her observational wit and skillful prose were special gifts that she shared with all of us. Karen loved and enjoyed family get-togethers and hosted many throughout the years. She was an amazing cook and made many “purple”-ribbon dishes for her family to enjoy.
Karen is survived by her loving husband of 62 years, David, of New Richland; siblings: Larry (Rosanne) Tollefson of Aitkin; Leland (Susan) Tollefson of Rochester; sister-in-law, Dorothy Tollefson of New Richland; step-brothers: Greg (Teresa) Reichert of Nashville, TN; Doug (Linda) Reichert of Highlands Ranch, CO; and Randy (Ann) Reichert of Circle Pines; sisters-in-law, Janice Perkins of Albert Lea and Janet (Roger) Loken of Rochester. Karen is also survived by many special nieces and nephews, as well as many great nieces and nephews, other relatives, and friends.
Preceding her in death were her parents, Delmer and Beryl (Dodge) Tollefson; stepmother, Marian (Reichert) Tollefson; sister, Carol (Tollefson) Wiese; and brother, Robert (“Swan”) Tollefson.
Blessed be her memory.
A celebration of Karen’s life will be held at a later date. Memorials may be directed to the donor’s choice.
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