Karen Ann Zander, age 64, of St. Louis Park, passed away Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015, at Methodist Hospital of St. Louis Park after a two-year long battle with ovarian cancer.
She was born May 30, 1951, in Clarkfield, MN, to Alois (Ollie) and Hilda (Schwartz) Schmalz. Karen was baptized June 17, 1951, in Clarkfield, and confirmed in the Christian faith April 24, 1966.
Karen grew up in Cosmos, and graduated from Cosmos High School with the class of 1969. She continued her education by attending vocational schooling.
Karen was united in marriage to Harvey Bernard Zander Nov. 23, 1985, at Peace Lutheran Church in Cosmos. Harvey and Karen made their home in St. Louis Park.
Karen was employed at General Mills in the Business Information Center (BIC) until her retirement Nov. 29, 2011.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Ollie and Hilda Schmalz; one brother, Keith Schmalz; grandparents; and brother-in law Leland (Sonny) Pettit.
Karen spent countless hours knitting, and was involved in numerous knitting and stitching groups. She made many helmet liners for the troops, chemo caps, and gifts for her grandchildren and family. She truly was given a gift and enjoyed every moment.
She also enjoyed quilting, crocheting and sewing. When Harvey and Karen were married, she sewed her wedding dress.
Harvey and Karen were very passionate about the trucking industry. They spent many hours over the years volunteering in classrooms, informing kids and the community about the industry and safety. They held driver’s education classes in schools around the Wright County area including Buffalo, Dassel-Cokato, Howard Lake Waverly-Winsted, and St. Michael-Albertville.
Harvey and Karen traveled around the country exhibiting their semi, “Icy Blu 2,” in numerous truck shows, earning many awards. They were also part of a school program called “Trucker Buddy”/Pen Pal school program in which they helped educate and mentor schoolchildren via a pen pal relationship between professional truck drivers and children in grades k-8.
Karen was the secretary/treasurer for a Friday night bowling league at the Medina Entertainment Center for over 20 years.
Recently, she spent many hours working on family genealogy for many family members.
In addition, over the past three years, Karen was involved in MOCA (Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance), raising money to help fund research programs in finding a cure for ovarian cancer.
During the summer months in the last few years, Karen and Harvey found relaxation at Codger’s Cove Camp Ground in Howard Lake. They enjoyed spending time with friends and family on the pontoon visiting.
Karen is survived by her husband, Harvey Zander of St. Louis Park; son and daughter-in-law, Quay and Nancy Zander of Waverly; grandchildren Rebecca Zander of St. Cloud, and Jacob Zander of Crookston; brother and sister-in-law Curt and Barbara Schmalz of Buffalo; brother Ken Schmalz of Thief River Falls; sisters and brothers-in-law Dorris and Heinrich VonMende of Brooklyn Center, Harlan and Jonae Zander of Howard Lake, and Arlo and Susan Zander of North Mankato; and by many other aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Funeral services took place Monday, Nov. 16 at 10:30 a.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Howard Lake, with Pastor Paul Koch officiating.
Visitation was Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Swanson Peterson Funeral home in Howard Lake.
Pallbearers were Karen’s grandchildren, Rebecca and Jacob Zander; nephews Chad Schmalz, Alexander Bauers, Jeremiah Bauers; and friend Alex Mages. Honorary pallbearer was Tatum Rae Zander.
Arrangements were with the Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home of Howard Lake; www.swansonpeterson.com.