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Karen J. Stetson

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Stetson, Karen J.

Karen Stetson, surrounded by her family, died in Madison, WI on August 17, 2013, after a brief struggle with ovarian cancer. Karen, the daughter of Dallas and Virginia Stetson, was born on November 1, 1960 in Sheboygan, WI. Karen is survived by her partner, Madelon (Lonnie) Lief and their daughters, Elena and Nina Stetson. She is further survived by her parents, Virginia and Dallas Stetson, her brother, James (Diane Krause-Stetson) and her sister, Stephanie Stetson (Steven Rosenblum), her nephews, Aaron and Simon Rosenblum, and her niece, Marika Rosenblum, as well as Jeff and Valerie Elzinga and their children, Eliot, Celine and Paul. Karen was preceded in death by her sister, Mary Jo, her maternal and paternal grandparents, and her uncle, Gregory Beaver.

Karen graduated from Sheboygan North High School in 1979 and received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1983. After graduation, she joined the Peace Corps and served in the Marshall Islands for two years. Karen moved to Craftsbury, Vermont, where she worked in a cross-country ski resort. She completed her Masters Degree in Social Work at Smith College in 1992 and worked as a social worker in Boston until 1998.

In 1998, she returned to Wisconsin to be with her family, especially to be near her sister, Stephanie. Karen and her partner, Lonnie, have been friends since 1998 and together as life partners since 2001. Karen and Lonnie adopted two girls from Guatemala, Elena Ruth (10) and Nina Marisol (8). In July 2011, the family moved to Costa Rica, where she resided until her death.

Karen led an active life. She was an excellent swimmer and hiked the mountains of New Hampshire and Costa Rica with many friends. She was an avid reader and thoroughly enjoyed the friendships she made in her Madison book club. Sewing, quilting and needlework were among her hobbies. She was a fierce Scrabble player. Karen sewed doll clothes as well as costumes for school events for her daughters and their friends.

But Karen's greatest gift was her capacity for love. She was a kind, compassionate friend, the world's best Mommy and the most amazing partner. Words do not do justice to her spirit.

A private family burial service will be held on Monday at Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the family towards a memorial in Karen's memory or to a .

The family would like to thank all of the healthcare providers at the Poudre Valley Hospital in Ft. Collins, Colorado; the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin; and, the Agrace Hospice in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, whose expert and compassionate care made Karen's last weeks and days more comfortable.


Published in Sheboygan Press on Aug. 18, 2013
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