Karen Louise Lantto Willcox passed away peacefully May 31, 2016, at Methodist Hospital surrounded by family and friends.
She was born Nov. 9, 1955, in the base hospital of Wright-Patterson A.F.B. in Dayton, OH, to Ernest and Louise Lantto.
Karen will be remembered for who she was as a person and her many gifts. Her love of the arts and singing were on display in her high school years with the Bonn American High School musical group, “The X.”
Her sense of adventure led her to travel throughout Europe in the 1970s. Her goofy sense of humor brought wry smiles and chuckles to all she met.
Karen attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, graduating in 1978 with a degree in Sociology and German.
Karen married the love of her life, Mark E. Willcox, June 5, 1981. After five years of living on the East Coast, they moved to Minnetonka, MN, where they raised their two children.
In addition to being a mother, Karen worked as a paraprofessional at Minnetonka High School, where she assisted many developmentally challenged students with their day-to-day routines. She was praised for her compassion and hard work on their behalf. She enjoyed singing, being surrounded by friends and family, laughing, and playing games. Though she may not have been aware of them all, she touched many lives and many hearts.
Karen is survived by her mother and father, Louise and Ernest Lantto; her husband, Mark Willcox; son, Stanton Willcox; daughter, Emma Willcox; sister, Julia Hansen (Jeff); and three brothers, Orville Lantto (Sue), Eric Lantto (Tisha), and Sam Lantto (Deb). She also leaves behind numerous loving nieces, nephews, relatives, and friends.
Memorial service will be June 15 with a 3 p.m. greeting and 4 p.m. service at Mayflower Congregational Church, 106 East Diamond Lake Road, Minneapolis. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Family Friends, Inc., 4420 County Road 101, Minnetonka MN 55345 (an organization which provides support to students in need) or the Autism Society of Minnesota.
Arrangements by Swanson-Peterson Funeral Home & Cremation Services of Cokato.