Karen Klingenberg, age 77, was called home to live with her Heavenly Father Wednesday morning, April 21, 2021. She was surrounded by her loving family as she left this world. Karen’s death was caused by complications following a heart attack. Karen came into this world in Bloomer, Wisconsin on May 21, 1943 to Wilbur and Fern (Schmidt) Turner. Karen lived her young life on the family dairy farm and met her one true love, Arthur (Art) Klingenberg, at the County Fair in 1958. After a 2-year courtship, the two married September 16, 1961 and tried to settle down, however, the U.S. Military and the Berlin Crisis delayed their plans. They eventually created a home and family in Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Being a Mom, caring for children, compassion and nurturing seemed to come naturally for Karen. She became a mother in 1964, and three more times. She and Art created a home and a family with children, Theresa, Katrina, Christopher and Nicole, all growing up in Cedar Falls, IA. Then, something unexpected happened, … or, perhaps other people noticed a family where children were always safe and welcome. As Karen’s children reached adulthood, fate brought more young people into her family. The local High School contacted Karen and Art about temporarily hosting a foreign exchange student for one semester. Karen welcomed this student to the family with all the love that she knew. The struggling student bloomed. The next year there were two foreign exchange students. And the next, two more,... and another two. This cycle continued on and off over the course of 35 years until Karen and Art had added 17 international children to their family. It wasn’t just foreign students who could count on Karen for love and support. When a young teenage friend of the family found herself all alone in the world, Karen immediately said “yes” to her call for help. A new daughter was brought into Karen and Art’s home, and soon after, their first granddaughter.
Retirement brought Karen back home to Northwestern Wisconsin. Throughout her retirement years she seemed to gain a new motivation for championing the needs of children. She helped start the St John’s Lutheran Church Preschool, using her experience as a Day Care Center owner/operator to guide the project. She went on to launch the Bloomer Community Clothes Closet so no one in her community would lack adequate clothing. And, into her late sixties, she supported families with children at Harmony House Homeless Shelter in Chippewa Falls, Wis.
Karen believed in clean water that tastes delicious. As such, when she served as the New Auburn Village President, she over-saw the installation and initial management of a new water tower. In addition to that, as Village President, she evicted a bear that was wandering around town, some skunks in a wood pile, and a few other important village issues.
Karen loved her community of girlfriends. Over the past year, during the COVID shut-down, she often commented on how she just wanted to go out for breakfast with the girls. Karen was the friend who was available for the good times and bad. She knew the value of being a friend. If she could help, she always did. That included “just being there” when one of her friends was lonely and sad. If it wasn’t for the years and the burden on her body, Karen would never have stopped helping others. She loved fiercely, giving of her open loving spirit. And anytime a child was suffering, she wanted to help.
Karen is survived by: husband: Arthur Klingenberg of New Auburn; children: Theresa Klingenberg and Tim Rask of Eau Claire, Katrina And Rob Klingenberg of Waterloo IA, Christopher and Jeralyn Klingenberg of Lincoln Neb., Nicole Klingenberg of New Auburn Wis., Beth Bremer of Janesville, IA; grandchildren: Austin, Caleb, Louis, Madison, Jackson, Jalen, Dominique and Stephanie.
She is preceded in death by her parents and two brothers: David and Daniel Turner.
Private family services will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Bloomer with a public visitation from 11:00a.m.–1:00 p.m. at the church. Please follow CDC guidelines. Burial at the Turner Cemetery will follow the service. Olson Funeral Home in Bloomer is assisting the family. Online condolences may be expressed at olsonfuneralhomebloomer.com.