​Karen Kathleen McKern

Karen Kathleen McKern, 54, of Minnesota City, MN passed away peacefully in her home on Friday, December 28th, 2018. Karen was born on October 10th, 1964 in Clinton, IA to Joan and Glenn Kieffer. Karen was one of seven children and grew up on the farm in Preston, IA. Despite being assigned many chores, Karen always had a distaste for the dishes. She preferred baking cookies, as it was unlikely to ruin her manicure.

Karen graduated from Preston High School in May of 1983. She went on to cosmetology school at Capri College in Davenport, IA and graduated in September of 1984. Karen took an interest in education and returned to Capri as an instructor. It was while teaching Karen met the love of her life, her husband, David McKern. Karen fell in love at first sight and happily transitioned into her role as a mother to Tim and Chrissy. Karen and Dave were married on May 9th, 1992 at the Pioneer Village at Scott County Park in Parkview, IA. The following year, Karen and Dave welcomed their son, Dallas and in 1995, their daughter, Kayton, was born. Karen loved being a mother; she was patient, supportive, and the love she had for her children was endless.

In 2003, Karen and Dave moved to Winona, MN where Karen worked as an administrative assistant at Riverway Learning Community. Throughout her years at Riverway, Karen was able to touch the lives of innumerable students. Karen greeted them by name with a bright smile, and always offered a listening ear when one was needed. Karen’s love and generosity for children reached far beyond the walls of Riverway. From the time her oldest kids were in school, Karen earned the nickname ‘Mama K’ and it fit. She offered a hot, delicious meal and a safe place to sleep to many of her kids’ friends; Karen never hesitated to open her heart and her home to anyone in need.

The greatest joy in Karen’s life was becoming a grandma. Nothing brought her as much joy as spending time with her eight grandchildren. With each new little one, Karen’s love only grew. Spoiling her grandbabies was Karen’s favorite pastime.

Karen and Dave loved to enjoy the outdoors. Summertime weekends called for camping trips and hours of fishing. Karen and Dave spent countless hours building and refurbishing campers and working on projects around the house. Whether they were traveling or close to home, one thing was guaranteed: where you found Dave, Karen was surely nearby. They were always together and always holding hands.

Karen is survived by her loving husband, David McKern; son, Timothy (Annette Angel) McKern; daughter, Chrissy (Nate) Lester; son, Dallas (Sydney Dean) McKern; daughter, Kayton (Chris Cessna) McKern; eight grandchildren, Kammie, Maleiki, Angelicia, Alexis, Brooklyn, Luis, Paisley, and Lennox; mother, Joan Kieffer; brothers, Terry (Nancy) Kieffer and Gene (Marie Rossman) Kieffer; sisters, Ann (Richard) Keeney, Margie (Lonnie) Tebbe, Marcie (David) Driscoll, and Sheila (Reece) Lindstrom; and many special nieces, nephews, godchildren, and friends.

Karen is preceded in death by her father, Glenn Kieffer, as well as her beloved mother and father-in-law, Edalyna and Carl McKern.

We have planned two services for those who wish to join us in celebrating Karen’s life.

Visitation will be held in Winona on Wednesday, January 2nd at Hoff Funeral Home from 12:00-2:00 pm. Service will follow.

On Saturday, January 5th, visitation will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Preston, IA from 9:00-11:00 am with Mass to follow. Luncheon will be served afterwards.

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