Karen Ruth Stephani passed away on May 11 at home, surrounded by her family, from complications of Parkinson’s disease. She was born on July 3, 1942 in Minneapolis, the first child of Ruth and Louis Salverson. She graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1960 and later from the Minnesota School of Business. She worked many years as an Executive Secretary for Control Data Corporation. Karen married Benjamin Stephani in 1980 and moved to Hay Creek, where she enjoyed cooking for her family and guests, gardening, and taking on a variety of sewing/craft projects. She assisted Ben with operating Hay Creek Christmas Tree Farm from 1990-2005 and particularly enjoyed the gift shop. Karen touched everyone around her with her quick, beautiful smile and with the optimism and strength she demonstrated throughout her 30-year battle with Parkinson’s. She was especially fond of the quote, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
Karen is survived by her husband, Ben, six children and stepchildren, and her only sibling, Nancy (David) Ruuhela of Portland, OR. Children are Eric Melbye of Rosemount, Jennifer (Allen) Steele of Morgantown, WV, Susan (David) Lindstrom of Inver Grove Heights, David (Tammie) Stephani of Aitkin, Lynn (Gary) Martens of Hartland, WI, and Sharon (Steven) Perko of Roswell, GA. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren - Thor Melbye, Annabelle Melbye, Jon Stephani, Stephanie Lindstrom, Nicole Lindstrom, Catie Koch, Tony Stephani, Shelly Stephani, Tim Martens, Andrew Martens, Brianna Crotty, and Tina Louissaint - five great-grandchildren, special niece and nephew, Beth Rear and Matthew Ruuhela, and numerous other relatives.
A service will be held at 11 a.m. on June 5 at United Lutheran Church in Red Wing. Visitors may call one hour before the service. Interment will occur at a later date in Fort Snelling National Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to Faith in Action of Red Wing (320 West Avenue, Suite B, Red Wing, MN 55066). Arrangements by Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel.