Karen Baalrud, 64, went peacefully into our Savior's arms on Monday, October 28, 2013, surrounded by her loving family. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Karen followed in her parents' footsteps as educators. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Karen devoted her career to teaching family skills and reading. Karen's love of cooking and baking could be tasted in every meal and with every treat. Karen had the unique ability to put her heart and soul into everything she did.
Karen's biggest passion in life was her family. Rarely was there a moment when she was not connected to her kids. Her love and devotion to her family could be felt in every hug and seen in her smile. She used every opportunity to pass on her strong sense of faith, family, tradition, and heart felt wisdom. Karen put all around her at ease with her hospitality. Personal friends of Karen and friends of her children were treated as an extension of her family. She opened her heart to her daughter and sons-in-law, whom she treated as if they were her own. Some of her favorite times were spent with these people at the cottage in Tomahawk, WI.
Always the volunteer, Karen could be found leading the church choir through inspirational song, and served multiple terms on church council. Karen's faith and service to the Lord was evident in every step she took. Karen was always the first to raise her hand and offer whatever was necessary to assist the congregation or her family; whether it be scraping paint off the side of your house or baking Sunshine Cake for the Strawberry Social at church. Karen lived through her faith for the benefit of others. Her smile could be felt even before she entered the room and she was always ready to serve.
As a teacher, the world was her classroom, she used her passion for baking, sewing, music, and gardening to express her values and love. She taught her students and family love through food, and respect for the beauty that the world had to offer. Many students and friends returned to visit Karen and shared stories of their success. Whether it be through home grown businesses or the family values and coaching for life that Karen taught them in her classroom; these successes were inspired by Karen's love filled recipes of life lessons. These lessons have come full circle through her grandchildren, as they sense your doubt or pain and offer a home baked muffin or chocolate chip cookie to ease your burden, just as Karen would do.
Karen is the daughter of the late Gerald and Phyllis (Wisner) Baalrud. She is survived by her children, Kirsten Bennett de Murgas and Luis Murgas, Kara and Paul Bennett-Boehm, and Erick and Rebecca Bennett; her grandchildren, Nicolas, Isabela, and Casiano Murgas Bennett, Sofia Bennett-Boehm, and Jack Bennett, her stepmother, Mary Jane Baalrud, her brother-in-law, Pat Hayes, and her loving nephews, nieces, aunts, uncle, cousins, and friends. Karen was preceded in death by her parents, Gerald and Phyllis (Wisner) Baalrud, and her sister, Sue (Baalrud) Hayes.
Family and friends may pay their respects to Karen on Saturday, November 2, 2013 from 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Redeemer Lutheran church, 255 W Lincoln Ave, Hartford, WI. There will be a service and celebration of Karen's life at 11 a.m., with lunch following immediately after.
In lieu of flowers, out of appreciation for Karen's love of dogs, the family requests that donations be made to the Bay Area Humane Society.
The family would like to send special thanks to Pastor Marcia Carrier and the congregation of Redeemer Lutheran Church for their generosity and support.
Published in Green Bay Press-Gazette on Oct. 31, 2013